Woman dies after exposure to bushfire smoke smothering Canberra
Smoke-blanketed Canberra Airport was one of the last things the elderly passenger would ever see. Photo: Shauna O'Meara/Twitter
An elderly woman has died in Canberra tonight after she went into respiratory distress when exiting the plane to the tarmac which was filled with dense smoke from the bushfires.
The New Daily has confirmed the Canberra woman was on a Qantas plane arriving from Brisbane.
She was alive when she left the plane but relatives believe she went into respiratory distress after disembarking. ACT police and ambulance were called to the airport to assist.
ACT Policing were called to the Canberra Airport following the unsuspicious death of a woman at around 4.15pm today,” a spokeswoman said. “A report will be prepared for the coroner.”
This week, the air quality in Canberra’s south reached a level more than 20 times above hazardous and the recorded index rating was higher than the world’s most polluted city, New Delhi in India.
The Canberra Hospital has had to cancel some medical/diagnostic procedures due to smoke impacting the building and equipment. I’m told MRI machines can’t operate, won’t be operating today or tomorrow. #canberrasmoke
— Dr Liz Allen (@DrDemography) January 1, 2020
Australia Post has suspended all deliveries in and out of Canberra. Six post offices across the city have been closed.
Acting chief health officer Dr Paul Dugdale said on New Year’s Day the capital experienced the worst air quality conditions since ratings began to be measured 15 years ago and it had resulted in multiple presentations to Canberra Hospital.
“It’s a particularly difficult time for people with heart and lung conditions who are sensitive to smoke, our message to them is to follow your doctor’s advice, take your medications and if you have got an asthma action plan, put that into effect,” he said.