More than a dozen taxi drivers and passengers have been given jail terms for failing to get their passengers out of the car when a flood of water had overtaken a Miami airport car park in a dramatic emergency.
Key points:The men, who are all from New South Wales, have been charged with failing to heed warnings that a flood was approaching the airport and driving with a suspended licenseA group of taxi drivers had been arrested at the airport on suspicion of illegally parking cars on the roadThe men were arrested after police were alerted by their fellow taxi drivers that a storm had moved in and was “likely to cause significant flooding to the airport”Police from the Port of Miami said the taxi drivers were not able to get out of their vehicles and were then charged with not obeying the “do not proceed” instructions issued by the police.
They are also facing a charge of failing to obey the emergency evacuation orders, which is a criminal offence in New South Welsh law.
The men are the first to be charged over the incident, which has been described as a “catastrophic” situation for taxi drivers in South Australia.
It’s been dubbed a “national crisis” and the drivers have said that if they don’t get out, it will cost them their livelihoods.
More than 100 taxi drivers are in custody at the Port and are awaiting their first court appearance.
“We are going to have to make a very difficult decision for them,” Acting Deputy Police Commissioner, Kevin Hamer, said.
“What is going to happen to their jobs?
What is going for their careers?”
It’s a national crisis.
We’re going to be dealing with that for a very long time.
“”It is a very serious situation.
“Mr Hamer said the men were all from Queensland and all had a suspended or revoked licence.
Mr and Mrs Hamer were travelling from New Zealand and their driver, John Rau, had a driving licence suspended for failing a test.
He had also been issued with a court summons for allegedly driving with his licence suspended.
A woman passenger who was driving the car was also arrested on suspicion that she did not obey the order not to drive, but that charge was dropped.”
I have no doubt the court is going with the charge that she disobeyed,” Acting Police Commissioner Kevin Homan said.
They were charged with breaching the emergency instructions of the police by failing to make the necessary evacuation and failing to comply with the evacuation orders.
The airport has since issued a number of warnings to taxi drivers.
The first warning, issued at about 9:00am on March 8, said taxi drivers should leave their vehicles off the road to prevent a situation like this from unfolding.
But it was followed by warnings issued later that day, from 11:00pm on that day and later that night, by the airport, to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers.
After the warning was issued, the airport issued a second warning, telling taxi drivers to stay off the roads.
The airport issued three additional warnings on March 9, all of which were ignored.
On March 10, the Port warned drivers not to park their vehicles on the main road and advised drivers to leave their cars off the main street and park in other parts of the airport.
It said drivers could still park on the street but they would be asked to pay the $2 fee.
The warning was followed up by a warning issued on March 11, by which time more than 100 people had left the airport due to the flooding.
At that time, the driver of the second taxi had also parked his vehicle on the side of the road and was now in the process of trying to leave the airport as a result of the flooding, the court heard.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Hamer told the court that the airport had “not made any attempt to stop the situation”.”
It would appear from the evidence of those in custody that they have been acting as if the situation was not imminent,” he said.
He said it was clear that the drivers’ “will to do what they are instructed” was not respected.
There were several other warnings issued at different times throughout the day.
The airport is committed to assisting all affected passengers and employees to re-establish their normal activities and to continue with their normal daily activities,” it said.