Mon, 06 Apr 2020
A COUPLE who were trapped on a cruise ship amid coronavirus fears are back home.
They were able to be flown home after US president Donald Trump gave permission for them and others to disembark "for humanitarian reasons."
The Coral Princess was refused permission to dock in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, following two coronavirus deaths, according to national news reports.
Les and Sally Osmond, who live in Racecourse Road, Newbury were among nearly 400 British passengers trapped on board due to coronavirus quarantine measures - thought to have been free of the virus until a few days ago.
Mr Osmond, aged 68, is vice-president of Newbury Rotary Club and 65-year-old Sally is a governor of Spurcroft Primary School, Thatcham, and Newbury College.
Mrs Osmond said: “We set out for the holiday of a lifetime early in March; a holiday which would take us from Santiago in Chile, down the coast of Chile past Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and around Cape Horn, experiencing wonderful scenery and places along the way.
“After that we were headed to the Falkland Islands.”
They were due to continue the cruise and to have returned home on Tuesday, March 24.
She added: “So much for the plans – now we have to face reality.”
The ship was refused permission to dock at several different countries and the Osmonds were told that flights back to Britain were unavailable anywhere.
Then came news they had dreaded - people were getting sick on board with flu-like symptoms and passengers were put in lockdown.
But today (Monday, April 6) they announced that, after docking off Miami, USA, emergency flights had been arranged to get them home - and they had been eventually able to board one back to Heathrow airport.
Mrs Osmond said: "So now it's two weeks of isolation whilst we remain locked down indoors- at least we have had some practise and it will seem great having a whole house to move around in. Thank all those who have been emailing and contacting us, it’s been really great to keep the contact which the real world and I hope we will be catching up in person when this terrible period is past. Just in case you are wondering we do not plan any further holidays any time soon!"