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9 flights diverted, 50 flights delayed after Changi Airport control tower evacuated

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Travellers at Changi Airport were left confused early Thursday morning when the fire alarm at the control tower of Changi Airport went off, causing the control tower to be evacuated.

[SINGAPORE] Travellers at Changi Airport were left confused early Thursday morning when the fire alarm at the control tower of Changi Airport went off, causing the control tower to be evacuated.

"Flight operations at Changi Airport were disrupted at 12.10am today due to the evacuation of Changi Control Tower. The Tower had to be evacuated as the fire suppression system was activated," the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement on Thursday.

"Normal flight operations were restored at 1.40am when Changi Control Tower resumed operations. In the interim, air traffic control services were provided from back up positions,"it added, without elaborating what these back-up positions were.

It added: "During this period, 50 departure flights were delayed by 30mins or more and nine arriving flights were diverted.

"There was no fire. Investigations into the cause of the activation are on-going."

The Straits Times understands that some flights were diverted to Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam and others to Kuala Lumpur International airport.

Passengers took to social media to voice their frustrations, saying that they had little clue as to what was happening while the incident was ongoing.

Mr Chris Lian, a 35-year-old chef who was on his way back to Singapore from Bangkok and whose plane had to wait on the tarmac after landing in the airport, told ST he could not recall a similar incident in recent memory.

He noted however that although he was "pretty shocked" when he first heard the announcement and had to be at work at 8am on Thursday, he still felt that "safety is still the most important".

THE STRAITS TIMES