Airport flooding incident: Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive

Drivers whose vehicles were potentially damaged in a recent flooding incident at Belfast International Airport have been urged to make sure they are safe to drive.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 2:28 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:14 pm
The entrance to Belfast International Airport (archive pic)

A number of vehicles parked in an overflow car park at the site were flooded during a period of torrential rain on July 28.

While it isn’t known exactly how many vehicles were affected, it’s understood that some cars were so badly damaged that they have been written off by insurers.

Airport customer Nick Mitford told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show that his car is likely to be “a write-off.”

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Belfast International Airport. Pic by Google

“I don’t blame the airport for there being a flood. It was quite clearly an unprecedented amount of rain and there was flooding throughout Northern Ireland,” he said.

“It’s the way the airport subsequently decided to treat me as a customer. My car was there for 13 days after the flooding incident, and they had my details. Now I’m not asking them to try and assess my car or work out whether or not my car has been flooded or not, but I don’t think it’s beyond the duty of care the owe to me to just inform me that there had been an incident and that I might want to make arrangements not to potentially drive an unsafe car home with my family in it.”

Another airport customer, ‘Emma’, told the show that she returned from holiday with her children to find that her car, which had been parked in an overflow “field”, had been flooded.

“I arrived home at three o’clock in the morning, got into the car, wondered what the smell was and then realised that there was about a foot of water in it. The car’s been written off,” she said.

“I made the choice not to drive my vehicle home because I was concerned because there was a lot of water in it, so we got a taxi. But there are other unknowing people who have driven their vehicles home.”

With some customers claiming they weren’t informed about the flooding incident, concerns have been raised that some motorists could be unwittingly driving vehicles that are not safe.

Ian Crowder, the AA’s public relations manager, warned that flood damage could compromise a vehicle’s safety systems and urged anyone who thinks their vehicle may have been affected to get it checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

“Our advice to anyone who thinks their car may have potentially been submerged in this flooding incident should get it checked out, ideally by a main dealer, and follow their advice and then contact their insurance company,” he said.

Describing the incident as “an issue of public concern”, he said vehicles that have sustained water damage may well start and drive okay, but can have “a host of unseen problems”, some of which are “potentially dangerous”.

It’s understood the airport has called in legal advisors to deal with claims, but company bosses haven’t made any public statement about the issue.

The News Letter contacted Belfast International Airport asking for comment, but there had been no response at the time of publication.