Andrew and Deborah Guiver barely managed to make it back to Australia as coronavirus mayhem almost had them stuck in the UK.
Andrew and Deborah Guiver barely managed to make it back to Australia as coronavirus mayhem almost had them stuck in the UK.

COVID-19: Lucky couple stuck in UK get ‘fluke’ flight home

IT LOOKED like the global coronavirus stranglehold would have Andrew and Deborah Guiver stuck in England for months, but a generous helping of luck got them a plane home to Australia last Friday.

The Gympie Times sales consultant Andrew and Sunshine Coast University Hospital intensive care nurse Deborah journeyed to London on short notice early last month when Deborah's father John became gravely ill and unfortunately passed away.

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Andrew and Deborah Guiver barely manage to make it back to Australia in coronavirus mayhem – on their way to the departure gate.
Andrew and Deborah Guiver barely manage to make it back to Australia in coronavirus mayhem – on their way to the departure gate.

But tightened travel restrictions meant at least two attempts to fly home resulted in cancellations, and it seemed the Guivers would have to put their homecoming on hold indefinitely - until a "fluke" last-minute booking with Qantas finally had them on their way.

Mr Guiver said the pair were relieved to be home after a whirlwind week which saw Heathrow Airport look like a ghost town and Brisbane "like Fort Knox".

"I've never seen this ever before, but there was a standing ovation walking off the plane, it was unbelievable," he said.

Andrew and Deborah Guiver barely manage to make it back to Australia in coronavirus mayhem – Heathrow looking like a ghost town.
Andrew and Deborah Guiver barely manage to make it back to Australia in coronavirus mayhem – Heathrow looking like a ghost town.

"People were just really relieved to get out, some had been travelling for over 40 hours, some were really struggling financially.

"It was a fluke, we were really lucky to get home, it's good to be back and communicating with people.

"It was really eerie being in an empty international airport, there was no laughter, no happiness.

"It was like going through Fort Knox at Brisbane, it was really hard, there were lots of police and fire and rescue there."

Andrew and Deborah Guiver, two Aussies stranded in the UK, initially found it near-impossible to find a flight home.
Andrew and Deborah Guiver, two Aussies stranded in the UK, initially found it near-impossible to find a flight home.

Once the marathon London-Darwin-Sydney-Brisbane journey was complete Andrew and Deborah were given strict police instructions to stay home, especially for their initial 14-day isolation period once back on the Sunshine Coast.

And the abrupt change of plans meant they couldn't stay long enough for John's funeral, a "devastating" price to pay for their last chance to get home.

"We made the call and said we'd either go or be there for months, and we just decided to go, we raised a glass on the aeroplane for him," Mr Guiver said.

"I think it was the last thing John did for us, he put us on a plane home.

"(Quarantine) is going to be a struggle, I'm starting to count the days already.

"We're home, we're safe, there's a lot more people worse off."

Gympie Times


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