Date
26 May 2017
At least 11 Hongkongers were among the tourists stranded on Chile's Easter Island, which is famous for its ancient Moai statues, following an airport workers strike in that country. Photo: HKEJ
At least 11 Hongkongers were among the tourists stranded on Chile's Easter Island, which is famous for its ancient Moai statues, following an airport workers strike in that country. Photo: HKEJ

HK travel group stranded in Chile due to airport workers strike

A Hong Kong tour group comprising 11 people has been stranded in Chile’s Easter Island for the past four days as an airport workers strike in the South American country has led to flight cancellations.

The tour group arrived at Easter Island on December 16 and was scheduled to return to Santiago two days later.

However, the plans were disrupted as a strike broke out on December 17, paralyzing operations at Chile’s airports.

The group had no choice but to wait for the reopening of airports as it is difficult to leave by sea as the Easter Island is some 3,500 kilometers away from the west coast of Chile.

The tour was arranged by a Hong Kong travel agency called Jetour, with the itinerary said to include several destinations in South America.

A member of the group told an Apple Daily reporter on the phone that some of the travelers are running out of medications for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, as replenishments cannot be found on the Easter Island.

The group was getting worried, the person said, adding that they hope the Chinese Consulate in Chile will assist them in returning to Hong Kong.

Jetour, meanwhile, said Monday afternoon that it has helped the tour group secure air tickets to help them travel back to Santiago Tuesday evening.

Ronnie Ho Pak-ting, chairman of Jetour, said his staff had been following up on the case closely. One of the members of the group is a doctor, so he can help look after those in need of medical attention, he said, adding that hospitalization can also be arranged as the group was insured.

The Immigration Department said it has been monitoring the situation in Chile with help from the Chinese Consulate and that they believe that all members of the tour group are safe.

According to foreign media, some 1,600 travelers are currently trapped on Easter Island.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the Chile airport workers have agreed to end their strike and that flight operations will resume gradually.

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EL/AC/RC

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