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International flights were suspended into a flooded terminal at New York's flagship airport on Monday, flung into chaos after a water main broke during brutally cold temperatures following a deadly winter storm.
Gushing water compounded meltdown at John F Kennedy International Airport, where furious passengers have camped out for days as a result of equipment damaged by the storm and a backlog of flights.
Water poured from the ceiling and the arrivals area was submerged by standing water, through which a few intrepid passengers picked their way gingerly, according to footage broadcast by CNN.
International flights into Terminal 4 were suspended and the water main break occurred just before 2pm, said a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that runs the airport.
The west end of Terminal four lay under about three inches (eight centimeters) of water, where maintenance crews were mopping up, with police and fire crews on site, the spokesman told AFP.
The cause of the break is being investigated, he added.
Terminal 4 is used by more than 30 airlines, including Air India, China Airlines, Delta, Egyptair, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, KLM Royal Dutch, Singapore Airlines, Thomas Cook and Virgin Atlantic.
On Saturday the airport was forced to close Terminal 1, which serves the likes of Air France, Japan Airlines and Lufthansa, to international arrivals in an attempt to get on top of the backlog.
But tempers have flared among furious travellers, forced to sleep on the floor of terminals, with others stranded on planes for hours waiting to access a gate and massive delays in baggage claim.
"I am so angry, words cannot even express how I feel right now," one stranded female traveler told NBC television before the water leak.
"It's getting like a madhouse," traveler Steven Litvin told NBC, leaving with his wife eight hours after their plane landed -- with only half their luggage.