LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Tens of thousands of airline passengers waited hours for delayed or grounded flights headed into or out of the Southwest because of failures of the radar system that guides aircraft through the region.
A backup system took over immediately, and about 100 aircraft in flight at the time of Thursday's emergency were not endangered, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jerry Snyder.
But by the time the FAA restored the system more than four hours later, airports nationwide were gridlocked with aircraft lined up on the ground, canceled flights and passengers stranded or delayed.
The failures at the FAA's Los Angeles Center followed a software upgrade Wednesday night. The radar facility, 60 miles north of downtown in the Mojave Desert, covers a 100,000-square-mile section of the Southwest, including most of California, parts of Nevada and Utah, and 250 miles out to sea.
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