National

WA family trapped in India make it home - with $40k bill

WA family trapped in India make it home - with $40k bill
A family from Western Australia who went on holiday to India for six weeks in February have finally made it home after five months trapped there.
Liz and Darren Klein and their children Jasmine, 12, and Jessica, two, were confined to a hotel room in New Delhi for weeks, with multiple flights cancelled and the country in lockdown.
But they finally managed to get on a special flight back to Australia over the weekend.
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The Klein family from WA on their way back from India wearing full protective gear, (Supplied)
The flight cost the family more than double the usual cost of a ticket, with the bill just under $15,500 for the four of them to fly in economy.
They now also face a bill of more than $4000 for their 14 days in coronavirus mandatory hotel quarantine at the Westin Perth.
The Kleins they say they're just happy to be home.
The Kleins they say they're just happy to be home, despite the massive cost. (Supplied)
"The flight was long, we were on the plane from 5.30am Sunday morning, until 11.55pm on Sunday night," Ms Klein, a nurse and midwife, said.
"We had two stops, but didn't disembark the plane.
"So it was a really long day, but we did it and now we are home."
As reported by 9news.com.au, the Kalgoorlie couple had already spent almost $20,000, a big part of their life savings including cash from selling their house, on keeping themselves going in India.
The Klein family in their hotel room in India, where they were confined for weeks. (Supplied)
They were angry at Prime Minister Scott Morrison's suggestion Aussies overseas had "plenty of time" to get back after March's border closure.
When the lockdown happened in India, the family were in a village close to the Bhutan border.
The Kleins were 2000km from the nearest major city and all flights were cancelled.
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They were there to help the needy and it was the second time they'd visited, previously helping to build a well.
The family was then planning a visit to iconic tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, before flying home in April.
Initially they were trapped in the village, and while their friends there took care of them, tensions were increasing and conditions were primitive.
The Klein family from WA were thousands of km from an airport when India's lockdown happened, and had no chance to get a flight. (Supplied)
The family finally left the village and flew to the city of New Delhi last month, where they stayed in a hotel.
All commercial flights, including two they'd booked, were cancelled, with the country in lockdown until the end of the month at least.
The family said there had been special flights to Australia, which Air India sent to bring its own citizens home.
The Klein family said they felt abandoned. (Supplied)
They said some Australians have managed to get on them - but they were selling out instantly.
Most are also flying empty to Australia, because of the new flight caps.
Ms Klein said she felt the government had "abandoned" them.
Children wait to receive free food distributed in a slum during a lockdown to check the spread of the new coronavirus in Mumbai, India. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)
"The politicians really have no idea," she said.
HUNDREDS OF AUSTRALIANS STUCK IN INDIA
The Klein family is not alone.
Facebook group Australians Stuck in India has done a survey which found more than 2000 people are trying to get back to Australia.
They include Australian citizens and permanent residents who had travelled to see sick or dying family members, other people on holiday or visiting for events such as weddings, as well as students and workers who lived in Australia on temporary visas.
Contact journalist Sarah Swain:[email protected]
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