NATION

COVID-19: Stranded Passengers Try To Make Best Of Situation

Mr Williams and his wife Carmel Trotter were scheduled to be among the 168 passengers who were set to board a Virgin Airways flight to Brisbane.
27 Mar 2020 12:54
COVID-19: Stranded Passengers Try To Make Best Of Situation
From left: Maui Bay residents Bill Williams with wife Carmel Trotter and British couple Aaron Chase and Laura Pagent at the Nadi International Airport on March 26, 2020. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Though border restrictions, both here and internationally, have become a major inconvenience for many visitors to our nation, Bill Williams and his wife have seen the situation as an excuse to extend their holiday.

Mr Williams and his wife Carmel Trotter were scheduled to be among the 168 passengers who were set to board a Virgin Airways flight to Brisbane.

However, that flight did not happen as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced the closure of our borders on Wednesday in order to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Mr Williams owns property at Maui Bay, he said: “From my point of view, this is probably a good excuse to spend the opportunity back here in Fiji.”

Also scheduled to board the same airline were British couple, Aaron Chase and Laura Pagent.

After discovering they could not fly back to the United Kingdom, Mr Chase revealed: “Currently I spent £12,000 (FJ$33,095.73) this week on trying to arrange flights alone to get home.

“This was the last flight and we tried our luck. We are stranded and we wanted to go home.”

Fortunately for the Brits, Mr Williams came to the rescue. Since Mr Chase and his wife had nowhere to stay, Mr Williams made a few arrangements.

Mr Williams revealed that he had a neighbour who owned a house next to his property in Maui Bay.

“I got a neighbour, Brian who is in California. This British couple needed a place to stay so I did call out to assist these guys,” Mr Williams said.

After contacting his neighbour Brian in the United States, Mr Williams got permission to allow Mr Chase and his wife to take up temporary residence at his home.

For other passengers hoping to get back to Australia, a team from the Australian Immigration Department were present to assist them in terms of accommodation and transport.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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