Thursday, June 28, 2012

Boeing 737 chartered for one asylum seeker

An empty 737 plane chartered by the Federal Government was used to transfer a single asylum seeker from Christmas Island to Perth at the weekend. 

Fewer than five passengers are understood to have been on the aircraft - which usually seats 130 - including the injured asylum seeker and an accompanying Serco guard and immigration officer.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration confirmed the Saturday morning flight and said the decision was made to use the jet to move the man because it was already sitting on standby at Christmas Island's airport.

He said it was the "quickest and best" way to get him to Perth for treatment.

The plane left for the 3-hour journey just hours before the scheduled Virgin flight to Perth departed Christmas Island that evening.

The West Australian understands the man, who was on the asylum seeker boat that sank last week, was being treated for two severed fingers.

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