More than 170 Aussies and Kiwis on Anzac Day rescue flight home


The jet, QF7028, departs Buenos Aires in Argentina at 2pm local time on Saturday bound for Melbourne.

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Argentina has recorded more than 3600 cases of COVID-19. Picture: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPSource:AFP

Qantas captain Nick Thorne will proudly have on the flight deck a photograph of the late Keith Thorne, who survived the sinking of SS Somerset and HMAS Canberra, and a kamikaze attack on HMAS Australia.

He said his grandfather, a Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman, was the last member of his family to visit Buenos Aires in 1940 when it was a neutral port.

“Anzac Day is all about remembering what happened,” he told News Corp.

“And I know that my grandfather, he’d be pretty proud of the fact that his grandson is doing something like that on Anzac Day.”

Qantas pilot Nick Thorne of Victoria will have the photo of his grandfather on the flight deck. Picture: Ian Currie

Qantas pilot Nick Thorne of Victoria will have the photo of his grandfather on the flight deck. Picture: Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia

The late Keith Thorne, a Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman.

The late Keith Thorne, a Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman.Source:News360

Captain Alex Passerini, who is leading the flight, said the crew volunteered to be part of the federal government-coordinated effort to bring those stranded home.

“I’m really proud, along with the whole crew who volunteered for this service, to be playing our part to bring these people home,” he said, the NZ Herald reported.

“It’s a real privilege representing the national carrier on such a special flight on Anzac Day.

“I also look forward to seeing the look on people’s faces as they approach the aeroplane and see that kangaroo on the tail and hopefully make them feel like they are just about home.”

There are also 20 New Zealanders on board the 15-hour, 11,600km flight.

It is due to land at 7.30pm on Sunday.

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The Qantas rescue flight will arrive in Melbourne on Sunday night. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The Qantas rescue flight will arrive in Melbourne on Sunday night. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

On its Smart Traveller website, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urges those who have decided to return to Australia to check their route carefully and stay in touch with their airline or travel agent.

Earlier this month, the government announced a partnership with Qantas and Virgin Australia to bring Aussies home and has since facilitated other flights from regions such as Lima and Buenos Aires in South America.

Happy to be home. Evacuated Australians who arrived in Brisbane from Lima, Peru on April 14, 2020. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Happy to be home. Evacuated Australians who arrived in Brisbane from Lima, Peru on April 14, 2020. Picture: Darren England/AAPSource:AAP

“We know many Australians overseas are facing real difficulty getting flights home,” Smart Traveller states.

“In recent weeks, there have been fewer international flights available as countries have introduced travel restrictions and closed key transit hubs.”

Executive Traveller reports Australians stranded in South Africa will board a rescue flight from Johannesburg to Melbourne on Wednesday, April 29.

With AAP



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