'Best flight': Australians on board evacuation flight from India arrive in Melbourne

A group of 444 Australians evacuated on a charter flight from India to Melbourne say they are relieved to finally be back on home soil.

Rescue flight carrying 444 Australian passengers lands in Melbourne.

Rescue flight carrying 444 Australian passengers lands in Melbourne. Source: Supplied

Australians on board the Lion Air chartered flight from New Delhi arrived at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport just after 8pm on Sunday. 

Thirty-three infants were among the 444 Australians on board. 

Sydney-based intensive care nurse Valerie Volpato told SBS Punjabi the journey home was the "best flight of my life".

"Everything that’s super delightfully and cosmically amazing. The children and the baby talk, the cries were an orchestral synchronised soundscape of entertainment," she said.

The group will now undergo a 14-day quarantine period, which Melbourne-based banking manager Munish Chopra anticipated would be "difficult".

"I know the next few days in quarantine are also going to be difficult, in particular, for those travelling with children. But right now I am just thanking my stars that I live in Melbourne and at the end of these two weeks, I will be back in the safety of my home and in the company of my loved ones," said Mr Chopra.

More than 6,000 Australians remain stranded across India, with the mission home spearheaded by a group of Australians living in New Delhi and the India Australia Strategic Alliance.
 
Two more charter flights are expected to depart India later this week.
 
Victorian resident Kapil Gupta and his elderly father are planning to book seats but he said he's concerned the Australian High Commission has not endorsed the flight.
 
"I'm not sure if you take an unendorsed flight if something was to happen even my life insurance I don't know, those things come to your mind as well so that's why I'm a bit sceptical about taking those flights," he said.
 
"But if the government doesn't do anything then I don't have a choice."
 
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they were working to get Australians stranded aboard home where there were no longer commercial travel options.

Read more at SBS Punjabi.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus


Share
Published 13 April 2020 at 6:42am, updated 13 April 2020 at 6:57am
By SBS News
Source: SBS News