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Earthquake strands 95 Air Macao passengers in Chengdu airport
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Ninety-five passengers of an Air Macao flight were forced to stay overnight in Chengdu, capital of southwestern China's Sichuan Province, which was rocked by a powerful earthquake that led to the shutdown of the Chengdu Shuangliu Airport on Monday.

"The scheduled flight was canceled today as the Chengdu airport was shut down after the earthquake, and the passengers on board have been evacuated from the aircraft," said Gong Xiaozhuang, public relations and advertising manager of Air Macao.

Among the 96 passengers, only six were Macao residents and the rest are all from Taiwan, Gong said, adding that their overnight stay in Chengdu would be properly arranged.

Air Macao, the largest airline in Macao, is the only carrier that operates flights from the island city to Chengdu, with four flights every week, and most of its passengers came from China's Taiwan.

Gong said that they lost contact for a while with their staff stationed in the Shuangliu airport, as the earthquake caused temporary disruption of telecommunications.

Currently all flights of Air Macao are running without a hitch except for the Chengdu flight, she said, predicting that the Chengdu airport will resume operation on Tuesday if the situation does not deteriorate.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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