India's return journey: Barbados PM says she expects airport to open in next 6 to 12 hours

The T20 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team is set to fly home aboard a charter flight on Tuesday evening after Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said she expects the airport here to become operational in the "next six to 12 hours", ending the shutdown forced by a category 4 hurricane.
Team India is awaiting at Barbdos to fly home
Team India is awaiting at Barbdos to fly home

Bridgetown (Barbados) | The T20 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team is set to fly home aboard a charter flight on Tuesday evening after Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said she expects the airport here to become operational in the "next six to 12 hours", ending the shutdown forced by a category 4 hurricane.

The Rohit Sharma-led squad, its support staff, some BCCI officials, and the players' families have been stranded here for the past two days due to hurricane Beryl. The team won the title on Saturday after defeating South Africa by seven runs in the final.

The contingent is expected to leave Bridgetown at 6pm (local time) and land in Delhi on Wednesday at 7.45pm (IST), according to a source. The players will be later felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the schedule of that event has not yet been finalised.

Earlier, Mottley gave an update on the situation here.

"I don't want to speak in advance of it, but I've literally been in touch with the airport personnel and they're doing their last checks now and we want to resume to normal operations as a matter of urgency," Mottley, who has been overseeing relief operations on the ground, told PTI.

"There are a number of people who were due to leave yet last night late or today or tomorrow morning. And we want to make sure that we can facilitate those persons, so I would anticipate that within the next six to 12 hours that the airport will be open," she said.

Life-threatening winds and storm lashed Barbados and nearby islands on Monday. The country, with a population of close to three lakh, has been in a lockdown since Sunday evening.

"(We have) been working to ensure that everyone is safe in Barbados, Barbadians and all of the visitors, of course, who came for cricket World Cup. We were very blessed that the storm did not come on land.

"The hurricane was 80 miles south of us, which limited, the level of damage on shore. But as you can see, we've had costal, infrastructure and costal assets have been badly damaged," Mottley said.

"It could have been a lot worse, but now is the time to do the recovery and the cleanup." The window to leave Bridgetown is a narrow one as Mottley revealed that "we have another hurricane coming on Wednesday." She hoped that the Indians, who have stayed put at their hotel since winning the trophy, will be in high spirits despite the lockdown, having ended a title drought of 11 years.

"I'm sure that in spite of the passage of the hurricane, that they would have been in very, very, very good mood and spirit and to win in the manner that they won on Saturday. I think they will be floating on air for a little time," she quipped.

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