posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 12:28 PM
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks were stranded on their chartered plane for seven hours after a winter storm paralyzed the city's airport, preventing the
team from making its scheduled flight to Memphis for Saturday night's game against the Grizzlies.
The Hawks left for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport immediately after their 106-96 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday night.
They didn't get there quick enough. The storm already was sweeping through Atlanta with freezing rain and sleet, forcing the cancellation of hundreds
The Hawks wound up being stranded on their chartered jet from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday, when it became apparent they wouldn't be able to get out
anytime soon. All hotels around the airport were booked up, so the players and staff were taken by vans to a downtown hotel -- about 10 miles away --
to await word on the fate of their game in Memphis.
Team spokesman Arthur Triche said the Hawks were in discussions with the league about whether to postpone the game. As of late morning, only one
runway at Hartsfield-Jackson was open. With more freezing rain and sleet predicted for Saturday, officials weren't sure when they would be able to
open another of the airport's four runways.
"At this point, we don't know if we're going to play," Triche said. "We were sitting on the plane, sitting through the de-icing process. When they
were finally done, they wouldn't let us take off."
Freezing rain and sleet coated Atlanta streets with at least a quarter-inch of ice, causing havoc at one of the world's busiest airports and shutting
down parts of every interstate highway in the metro area. At least two traffic deaths were blamed on the wintry weather.
The storm system swept into Georgia from the Midwest and continued its push into the Carolinas.