This weekend's early-season snowstorm made life in the Northeast annoying for many, cutting power to millions and making travel treacherous. Among the most miserable were passengers on diverted jets stranded on the tarmac at a Connecticut airport.

The Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection division is starting an investigation to determine exactly what happened with the aircraft at Bradley International Airport, near Hartford.

Audio released by LiveATC.net shows the pilot of one of the planes verging on emotional exhaustion as he begs for help to get to a gate so his disgruntled passengers, some of whom required medical attention, could disembark after being all but forgotten for seven and a half hours.

Should the inquiry find the airlines at fault for the fiasco, the DOT's Tarmac Delay Rule directs that they pay a penalty of up to $27,500 per passenger involved in the episode.

Video Credit: AP