In Brief

Zimbabwean family leave Bangkok airport after three months

The four children and four adults survived with help from staff in terminal

A Zimbabwean family of eight have finally left Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after being stranded there for three months in an administrative nightmare.

The family - four children aged between two and 11, and four adults - first arrived in Bangkok in May, the BBC reports. In October, they tried to board a flight for Barcelona via Kiev, says The Phuket News, but didn’t have the correct visas.

They were not allowed to leave the airport, however, because they had overstayed their Thai tourist visas, and refused to return to Zimbabwe, saying they feared persecution there. 

The family’s situation came to light in December when an airport employee posted a photo of himself giving one of the children a Christmas gift. Their plight has drawn comparisons to 2004 film The Terminal, in which Tom Hanks plays a man stranded in a New York airport.

A Thai immigration bureau spokesperson identified Muvadi Rodrick as the head of the family, and said they had been cared for by Ukraine International Airlines, according to the Bangkok Post.

The spokesman told the BBC that the family left Bangkok for the Philippines on Monday. It was unclear whether the Philippines was their final destination.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has indicated that he would welcome the return of the family of “refugees”, The Washington Post reported in December.

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