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UK snow creates havoc for family returning to Island

Heavy snowfall in the UK has wrecked havoc with one Bermuda family's plans to return home from holiday.

Renato and Maria Baccaglio were scheduled to return from a trip to Italy with their four-year-old daughter Mia last weekend.

Instead, they've been trapped in a hotel in Brighton, praying desperately each day for Gatwick Airport to reopen and their flight to go ahead.

Flights into Bermuda from Gatwick have been cancelled since Wednesday when the worst early winter weather Britain has seen in more than two decades forced the airport closed.

Gatwick was scheduled to reopen at 6am today.

Mr Baccaglio is a waiter at Portofino; his wife works at a dentist's office.

Mrs Baccaglio said her family had been making every effort to return home since finishing their holiday in Italy.

“It was snowing in Milan and we were delayed on Sunday so we missed our connecting flight out of Gatwick that day.”

The family was fortunate to get places on the British Airways flight that left two days later, she said.

“It left the airport a little late, maybe 45 minutes, but we were on our way home. Then we had to come back.

“We were nearly three hours into the flight. We were in the middle of the ocean when the captain made a complete turn back to London. He said it was because the plane had a technical problem and they had no one available in Bermuda to fix it.

“The plane couldn't go to Newfoundland because of the snow there. Gatwick was still the closest airport. So we had to fly back.”

There were no vacancies in hotels near Gatwick when the Baccaglio's flight landed back in the UK at 9.35pm.

Mrs Baccaglio said: “We were the last plane to land in Gatwick. The weather had become really nasty.

“They said there were rooms for us in [a] hotel but by the time we got there it was taken. So they put all of us on a coach to Brighton.”

They have waited in Brighton since. British Airways has worked hard trying to reschedule them, Mrs Baccaglio added.

“It's still really cold and we're not dressed to go out, so we're just checking the internet and waiting.

“All the people from coach class on the plane are here too, maybe 100. Many of us are missing work badly now. We just hope we can go back on the regular London-Bermuda flight on Friday if this weather clears.”

She continued: “We've all caught the same cold. At least my daughter's using the wait to write her letter to Santa.”

A stranded passenger sleeps on a luggage check desk at London's Gatwick airport, Horley, England, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. Gatwick airport is closed due to continuing severe weather gripping Britain. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

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Published December 03, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 10, 2010 at 3:39 am)

UK snow creates havoc for family returning to Island

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