Many of Donald Trump’s supporters were left stranded in frigid temperatures for hours late Tuesday night after the president delivered a speech in Omaha, Nebraska, and then flew home on Air Force One while the campaign struggled with transportation issues.
After the president departed, hundreds in the audience were stuck waiting hours in near-freezing temperatures, according to media reports, while the Trump campaign tells PEOPLE its buses struggled to navigate street “closures and resulting congestion” while slowly bringing people back to their cars about three miles away.
According to Omaha police, “there were 30 people contacted for medical reasons and a total of 7 people transported to area hospitals with a variety of medical conditions.”
NBC News reports the Omaha Airport Authority could not determine whether the hospitalizations were a result of the cold weather.
A spokesperson for local Creighton University Medical Center tells PEOPLE its hospital treated five of the individuals, who arrived “with minor complaints.” The downtown hospital would not provide further information about their condition, citing patient privacy laws.
A pool report from Tuesday night’s event at the Omaha’s Eppley Airfield noted temperatures were about 32 degrees while Trump, 74, spoke to a crowd of around 6,000 supporters — some who wore masks, as a pandemic precaution, though most stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
“Is there any place you would rather be than at a Trump rally on about a 10-degree evening? 10 degrees,” Trump told the crowd during his speech, tightly closing his coat with his leather-gloved hands as a joke. “It’s cold out here, but that’s okay.”
Afterwards, video of the rally showed the president and a group of his staff — including Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and senior adviser Hope Hicks — walking back onto Air Force Once while dancing to the “Y.M.CA.”
In what was described by one reporter as a “chaotic cluster” soon after, police said “people flooded to the waiting buses,” leading officers to request additional help from the city’s transit authority.
The wait lasted as long as three hours for some, while others made the miles-long trek back to their cars. (Police say the shortest distance was a 2.5-mile walk and many “underestimated” the distance.)
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Sean Neumann