Newcastle Airport has been closed and flights cancelled after a sudden deluge of water caused a partial collapse of the roof on Sunday afternoon.
At around 1pm, shortly before the Bureau of Meteorology issued a heavy rainfall warning for the Newcastle area, gutters in part of the Williamtown airport terminal were overwhelmed with water, causing a section of the roof to cave in.
Most flights, including from domestic carriers Jetstar, Virgin and Regional Express were cancelled. However, regional carrier Pelican Airlines remained operational, with a flight set to arrive later on Sunday afternoon.
Following the collapse, the airport terminal was bustling with passengers who were turned away and had to find their way home.
Players from the Newcastle Knights were among those who found their flights to Newcastle cancelled.
Margaret Marlborough, who was ready to board a Jetstar flight, said no one was injured and passengers were quickly moved to safety.
"The rain just came down really hard outside and then the roof went crash," Ms Marlborough said.
"It took them about 40 minutes to tell us whether we would be able to fly or not."
Matthew Findlay, the executive manager of Newcastle Airport, said the event was an isolated incident affecting only the check-in terminal.
"I'm describing it as a unique weather event," Mr Findlay said.
"Obviously, with the quantities of water involved the guttering in the roof could not handle it. Some of the tiles have come down and we've turned the electricity off."
Mr Findlay said it was unclear when the airport would fully reopen.
Firefighters were assessing the strength of the roof in the mid-afternoon, and a decision on reopening the area was expected to be made in the early evening.
Like many passengers, Ms Marlborough does not know when her flight will resume.
Newcastle Airport said affected passengers should liaise with their airline and keep monitoring the airport website.
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