Some 300 Europeans, including more than half French, remained stranded Wednesday 8th April in Guayaquil, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Ecuador and the most affected city in Latin America
Some 300 Europeans, including more than half French, remained stranded Wednesday 8th April in Guayaquil, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Ecuador and the most affected city in Latin America, following an aircraft breakdown, according to concordant sources.
The plane of the Spanish company Air Europa bound for Paris “apparently had a breakdown and it was decided to disembark the passengers. They will be accommodated here “in Guayaquil (southwest), said airport spokesman Daniela Arosemena.
EPICENTER OF THE EPIDEMIC IN ECUADOR
The French Ambassador to Quito, Jean-Baptiste Chauvin, indicated that the problem “was detected on land” and that the plane was carrying around 300 Europeans, including around 170 French, in addition to the Spaniards, Germans and Italians and a dozen other nationalities.
A French-Brazilian passenger, Manuela Picq, university professor, contacted by AFP from Quito, deplored that this “theft which supposedly aimed to protect and take people to a safe place, took them to the epicentre of the epidemic ”in Ecuador. “There is fear, fatigue, frustration,” she said.
For her part, Ms Arosemena said the plane would “return to Quito” without a passenger to be overhauled and repaired, before returning to Guayaquil on Thursday to resume its journey.
This flight, organized by the French government, had first landed in Quito, where it had embarked passengers, before stopping at Guayaquil, then heading for Paris, according to the embassy.
The diplomatic mission had previously announced that “the objective of this flight was to allow French citizens and other European nationals to return to their countries” from Ecuador, which to date has more than 4,400 cases of Covid-19, including 242 dead.
The province of Guayas, of which the port of Guayaquil is the capital, concentrates 69% of the cases and Ecuador, a small country of approximately 17.5 million inhabitants, is the most affected in the region after the gigantic Brazil.
Mr Chauvin said that France had chartered this first charter flight to repatriate Europeans still present in Ecuador. “Once the problem is resolved, the flight will leave,” added the diplomat.
Foreign tourists stuck in Ecuador after the government’s decision to declare a state of emergency almost a month ago in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus, close the borders and ban all air links, except for humanitarian flights arriving without passengers.