Trump supporters hospitalised after being left stranded in freezing Omaha temperatures

Danielle Zoellner
·3-min read
 (AP)
(AP)

Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska, turned chaotic after hundreds of supporters were left stranded in the cold for hours after buses were unable to reach them.

The rally, held at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield on Tuesday evening, ended around 9pm CDT with Mr Trump leaving on Air Force One, as temperatures plunged to nearly freezing.

Hundreds of supporters then left the rally site only to discover a problem with leaving on the buses that were provided to shuttle people to and from the area.

For hours, attendees – including some elderly supporters, waited outside for buses that were stuck in traffic on the two-lane airport roads nearby. This encouraged Omaha police to attempt to get the most at-risk attendees out of the elements and into warmth.

The Omaha Scanner, a Twitter account that monitors emergency scanner traffic, reported that at least seven people were taken to the hospital from the incident. The account later tweeted that an official count would be released by officials on Wednesday.

“President Trump took off in Air Force One 1 hr 20 minutes ago, but thousands of his supporters remain stranded on a dark road outside the rally,” CNN’s Jeff Zelany reported. “‘We need at least 30 more buses,’ an Omaha police officer just said, shaking his head at the chaotic cluster that is unfolding.”

The Trump campaign provided buses to help remove supporters from the venue, but it was reported that they buses were unable to reach people due to a jam on one lane of the road.

The traffic jam was caused by other supporters driving in and parking for the rally. Police reported before the event that the parking lots were all full, which influenced more people to take the buses provided by the campaign.

Some people waited for more than three hours to leave the rally site and get to their vehicles parked miles away, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Reporters from the publication saw at least two rally attendees receiving assistance from the police, including one elderly woman who was wrapped in a blanket and placed in the back of a police cruiser.

The Trump campaign said there were enough buses for all attendees but the rally crowd size, estimated at 29,000, was larger than anticipated, according to the World-Herald.

Final stragglers in the crowd left the rally site around 12:40am CDT, more than three hours after Mr Trump left the venue.

The bus problem comes as Mr Trump’s rallies have faced scrutiny for being “super-spreaders” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Nebraska’s state positivity rate for Covid-19 now exceeds 20 per cent, but the president still insisted to a packed rally crowd that the country was “making the final turn” with the novel virus.

Local Democrats criticised the rally on Tuesday evening, specifically how long it took to get supporters out of the cold once it was over.

“Leaving thousands of Nebraskans stranded in the cold captures the entire Trump administration," Jane Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said. "I hope those responsible for the poor planning to feed Trump’s ego will be held accountable and that fellow Nebraskans turn out to vote to end this chaos.”

But it was reported by the World-Herald that attendees did not blame organisers for the bus problems.

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