‘Evacuation time!’ Inside Aussie Wuhan flight

 

Two young Australians have described their disappointment at having to leave China amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Brisbane man Rob Kellett, 26, and his friend Josh Nielsen, from Sydney, were both living in Wuhan, in China's Hubei province, when the disease was first detected at a seafood market there in December.

The professional roller bladers had been using the city as a base to explore China, but then witnessed firsthand as the city was placed in lockdown.

"We are in Wuhan and as most of the world knows, there is a coronavirus epidemic right now," Mr Kellett explained in a vlog posted to YouTube on Saturday.

"We moved here about two months ago with the plan of just exploring the city, and the virus has just come into full effect, the city has been put on lockdown and we've just spent the last week kind of trapped in our apartment."

'BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY'

The two men then made the tough decision to evacuate the city, and flew home on the Qantas evacuation flight to Western Australia on Monday.

"Not what we wanted from our time in Wuhan but better safe than sorry hey?" Mr Kellett said in a video posted on Instagram.

Mr Kellett was disappointed to be leaving China, but said it was “better to be safe than sorry”. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett
Mr Kellett was disappointed to be leaving China, but said it was “better to be safe than sorry”. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett

The decision was particularly hard for Mr Kellett, who had to leave his Ukrainian girlfriend behind.

"Hardest 'see you later' of my life," he said alongside a picture of them both.

 

Mr Kellett's had to leave his partner behind in China. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett
Mr Kellett's had to leave his partner behind in China. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett

Mr Kellett and Mr Nielsen will now be transferred to Christmas Island where they'll spend 14 days in quarantine before being allowed to return to Australia.

Further footage from inside the Qantas flight QF6032, which carried 243 Australian citizens and permanent residents to the RAAF Base in Learmonth, showed passengers wearing face masks and smiling for the camera.

One video shared exclusively with 7 News showed airport staff wearing face masks and rubber gloves as they handed out plane tickets.

 

The footage showed passengers as they took their seats on the flight. Picture: 7 News
The footage showed passengers as they took their seats on the flight. Picture: 7 News

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the flight offered the "maximum amount of protection" for both the passengers and volunteer staff onboard.

All evacuees were seated on the lower deck of the plane, while the plane's crew were on the upper deck. Medical assistance was also provided during the flight, with all evacuees told to wear face masks and change them every hour.

"On the aircraft, the air is actually replaced every five minutes. And the aircraft have these medical grade filters and this has 20 on board which remove 99 per cent of all particles on the aircraft including viruses. So it's safer than public transport," Mr Joyce said.

 

The Qantas flight arrived back in Australia on Monday. Picture: Supplied
The Qantas flight arrived back in Australia on Monday. Picture: Supplied

 

The plane was given a thorough clean before leaving Learmonth on Monday night. Flight radar data showed it then travelled to Sydney, touching down just before 3:00am on Tuesday.

There have been 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, with more than 14,000 cases of the virus confirmed globally and more than 300 deaths.

-With wires

. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett
. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett
He said it was the “hardest ‘see you later' of his life”. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett
He said it was the “hardest ‘see you later' of his life”. Picture: Instagram/Rob Kellett
Staff wear protective clothing as they hand out Qantas plane tickets. Picture: 7 News
Staff wear protective clothing as they hand out Qantas plane tickets. Picture: 7 News

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