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Britain braced for 10 DAYS of sub-zero temperatures

Severe weather warning issued for snow and ice this morning with up to 20cm snowfall and more on Sun..

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  • Severe weather warning issued for snow and ice this morning with up to 20cm snowfall and more on Sunday
  • Yellow weather warnings and lows of -12C (10F) as temperatures struggle to get above freezing over weekend
  • Met Office forecasters warned of threat to life and 'devastating' 90mph winds as Storm Caroline batters UK

By Amie Gordon For Mailonline

Published: 02:56 EST, 8 December 2017 | Updated: 03:03 EST, 8 December 2017

Britons are waking up to a blanket of snow and bitterly temperatures this morning as Storm Caroline continues to batter the UK.

An Arctic air flow in the wake of the storm has caused temperatures to plummet with up to 20cm (8in) set to fall in some places today.

Some 8cm of snow has already fallen in Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands while parts of Northern Ireland, Wales and areas to the west of the Pennines have also seen a covering.

The storm has already wreaked havoc across the country, with thousands left without power, schools closing and flights and trains cancelled.

Forecasters have warned conditions are set to drop even further, with yellow weather warnings in place and lows of -12C (10F) expected by Saturday night in Scotland and temperatures struggling to get above freezing over the weekend, combined with bitterly cold winds.

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Hartington in the Derbyshire Peak District woke up to a thick blanket of snow first thing this morning, with freezing temperatures and lows of -3C

Hartington in the Derbyshire Peak District woke up to a thick blanket of snow first thing this morning, with freezing temperatures and lows of -3C

A lorry slides off the road after over-night snowfall near Monyash - where plummeting temperatures are creating havoc on the icy roadsA lorry slides off the road after over-night snowfall near Monyash - where plummeting temperatures are creating havoc on the icy roads

A lorry slides off the road after over-night snowfall near Monyash – where plummeting temperatures are creating havoc on the icy roads

There has been a cold and crisp start to the day with snow showers across the Peak District already this morningThere has been a cold and crisp start to the day with snow showers across the Peak District already this morning

There has been a cold and crisp start to the day with snow showers across the Peak District already this morning

Another yellow weather warning for snow has been issued for central parts of the UK, which is in place from 4am on Sunday until just before midnightAnother yellow weather warning for snow has been issued for central parts of the UK, which is in place from 4am on Sunday until just before midnight

Another yellow weather warning for snow has been issued for central parts of the UK, which is in place from 4am on Sunday until just before midnight

WEATHER WARNINGS

FRIDAY:

  • Yellow warning of wind for Shetland and Orkney 5am-11.55pm.

Gusts of 70-80 mph with disruption to air and ferry transport and loss of power.

  • Yellow warning of snow and ice for Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, northwest England, Central and southwest England midnight-6pm Saturday.

Frequent snow showers with 2-5 cm of snow likely widely, and 10-20 cm in northern Scotland, Northern Ireland, north Wales and northwest Midlands.

Possible travel delays on roads and cancellations to rail and air travel.

Some rural communities could be cut off and power supplies interrupted.

SATURDAY:

  • Yellow warning of snow and ice for Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, northwest England, Central and southwest England throughout the day.

SUNDAY:

  • Yellow warning of snow for Northern Ireland, southern Scotland and England and Wales, 4am-11.55pm.

Heavy snow possible over central parts of the UK leading to road, rail and air travel delays and cancellations. Rural communities with limited access routes could become cut off.

Forecasters said snow showers were likely to become more widespread throughout the day, and a yellow weather warning is in place for ice and snow across much of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and parts of northern and western England.

Met Office meteorologist John West said: 'We saw a fairly consistent stream of snow showers overnight, and there will be a constant feed throughout the day and into Friday.

'We could see some fairly significant accumulations. Broadly speaking we're looking at 2cm to 5cm, but in more exposed areas we could see 10cm to 20cm.

'It will also be bitterly cold, with highs of 2C or 3C outside those snow showers. But the wind chill is going to make it feel sub-zero.'

Cold temperatures are likely to remain well into next week, with forecasters also warning that Sunday could see further heavy snow showers.

Another yellow weather warning for snow has been issued for central parts of the UK, which is in place from 4am on Sunday until just before midnight.

A canoeist died yesterday in an accident on a 'roaring' river after getting stuck under a fallen tree, and more than 30 children had to be rescued when their school bus was hit by crashing waves.

Referring to the canoeist's death, National Park ranger Rob Steemson said: 'One canoeist has been trapped under a tree and unfortunately the person has passed away. The river obviously rises and falls quite quickly, but this morning it was roaring.

'With the heavy winds as well, quite a few trees have come down overnight and unfortunately that's what's trapped this person.'

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: 'We were called at 9.45am by police to reports of a kayaker trapped under a log a mile from New Bridge.

'There were six other kayakers with the casualty, and they were trying to initiate the rescue. We sent three fire engines to the scene of the incident, and police and ambulance crews are also in attendance.

'We are working with the other agencies at the scene, including Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team to extricate the casualty from an island in the river. Access is very difficult.'

There was heavy snow fall in the early hours in Sutton Coldfield, BirminghamThere was heavy snow fall in the early hours in Sutton Coldfield, BirminghamChesterfieldChesterfield

There was heavy snow fall in the early hours in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham (left) and in Chesterfield (right)

There is a heavy blanket of snow covering the roads across Yorkshire today - with temperatures of around -2CThere is a heavy blanket of snow covering the roads across Yorkshire today - with temperatures of around -2C

There is a heavy blanket of snow covering the roads across Yorkshire today – with temperatures of around -2C

One driver struggled to charge their electric car when they woke up to heavy snow in YorkshireOne driver struggled to charge their electric car when they woke up to heavy snow in Yorkshire

One driver struggled to charge their electric car when they woke up to heavy snow in Yorkshire

A lorry slides off the road after over-night snowfall near Monyash in the Derbyshire Peak DistrictA lorry slides off the road after over-night snowfall near Monyash in the Derbyshire Peak District

A lorry slides off the road after over-night snowfall near Monyash in the Derbyshire Peak District

Two stricken lorries jackknifed as they struggled along the treacherous roads in the Peak District this morningTwo stricken lorries jackknifed as they struggled along the treacherous roads in the Peak District this morning

Two stricken lorries jackknifed as they struggled along the treacherous roads in the Peak District this morning

Sleet and snow showers are working their way across Britain, with a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice across the UK on Friday across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and and the north of England - with more on the way SundaySleet and snow showers are working their way across Britain, with a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice across the UK on Friday across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and and the north of England - with more on the way Sunday

Sleet and snow showers are working their way across Britain, with a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice across the UK on Friday across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and and the north of England – with more on the way Sunday

Up to 20cm of snow could fall across Scotland and 15cm as far south as Birmingham, with temperatures dropping by up to 10C in 24 hoursUp to 20cm of snow could fall across Scotland and 15cm as far south as Birmingham, with temperatures dropping by up to 10C in 24 hours

Up to 20cm of snow could fall across Scotland and 15cm as far south as Birmingham, with temperatures dropping by up to 10C in 24 hours

This interactive module, which is continuously updated, represents the picture across the UK. It shows high pressure sweeping across the country creating. Generated by a super computer and updated every three hours by the National Weather Service, the graph shows strong winds sweeping across the Atlantic and the Channel. Gales of more than 90mph can be seen directly over coastal areas and the south coast of the country.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have issued a checklist to help residents in the event of a power cutScottish and Southern Electricity Networks have issued a checklist to help residents in the event of a power cut

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have issued a checklist to help residents in the event of a power cut

TRAVEL CHAOS

Train services have been suspended between Aberdeen and Inverness, Inverness and Wick, Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh as well some Glasgow Queen Street routes to the west coast.

Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services between Tarbert and Lochranza, Oban and Tiree via Coll and Ullapool and Stornoway have been cancelled for the rest of the day, while many other routes are facing disruption.

The Forth Road Bridge and Tay Road Bridge are closed to double decker buses while the Skye and Kessock bridges are closed to high sided vehicles.

CalMac ferry passengers have been warned there is a high possibility of disruption to services.

Loganair is offering customers travelling on its flights to and from Benbecula, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Sumburgh the chance to change travel plans.

Three tons of hay blew across the busy A14 between Cambridge and Newmarket, causing an hour long hold up and drivers to brake and swerve to avoid crashing into each other.

Met Office forecasters are warning of a threat to life and 'devastating' winds as the storm batters the UK for three days.

Temperatures are set to drop by up to 10C in 24 hours with lows of -3C (26F) in the north and -1C (30F) in the South today, with a wind chill factor of around -5C (23F) in the South and -16C (3F) in some northern regions.

Some parts of Scotland could even fall as low as -8C (17F).

A yellow 'be aware' warning is in force for the southern half of Scotland and parts of the north of Northern Ireland between 6am and 6pm as well.

The Met Office has warned of flying debris that could lead to injuries or danger to life, while damage to property is also possible.

Met Office forecaster Emma Sharples said an Atalantic weather system will move across from the west on Sunday and bump into cold air – leading to more snow.

Some 1-5cm could fall across southern parts of the UK, with 10-20cm across areas of higher ground.

Temperatures on Sunday could struggle to get above freezing in northern parts of the UK.

All schools and nurseries in Lewis, Harris and Uist in the Western Isles are closed to pupils as a precaution while 31 primary schools, five secondary schools and 19 nurseries in the Highland Council area and two schools in Aberdeenshire are shut.

And all schools in the Shetland Islands will also remain closed throughout Friday.

Motorists have filmed their perilous commutes to work and one driver captured the moment a huge wave washed over a commuter ferry in Scotland.

Ade Robertson was sailing across the River Clyde with Western Ferries last night when he captured the wave lashing the boat.

CHILDREN RESCUED AS WAVES BATTER SCHOOL BUS

More than 30 youngsters on board a school bus in Orkney had a 'lucky escape'when it broke down in Storm CarolineMore than 30 youngsters on board a school bus in Orkney had a 'lucky escape'when it broke down in Storm Caroline

More than 30 youngsters on board a school bus in Orkney had a 'lucky escape'when it broke down in Storm Caroline

Huge waves broke over a sea wall and battered a school bus carrying children to Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney.

They were rescued by a 4×4 in a dramatic operation and coastguards said it was not clear if the bus had got stuck because of the weather or suffered a mechanical failure.

The 33 children, plus driver, were safely transferred to a Landrover and taken to a harbour authority building after the incident at 11.20am at Scapa Beach Road in Kirkwall.

Former Kirkwall Lifeboat coxswain Geoff Gardens came across the rescue.

'In all my years this is the worst weather I have seen for many a day. The children were very lucky,' said Mr Gardens, 65, a coxswain of a pilot boat.

'The children were all fine, but the bus was rocking. The waves were breaking over the wall – they were big.

'It took quite a few runs to get all the kids off – they were calm throughout. It was quite a bad place to break down – but I don't know if the bus stalled in the weather or by it. The road was very flooded there. It was some rescue.'

All schools in Orkney were closed from 11.30am.

Highways England workers prepare their gritting and snow plough fleet at the A1 Carville Depot near Durham in readiness for the snowHighways England workers prepare their gritting and snow plough fleet at the A1 Carville Depot near Durham in readiness for the snow

Highways England workers prepare their gritting and snow plough fleet at the A1 Carville Depot near Durham in readiness for the snow

The wintry showers will become more widespread over the next 24 hours, with forecasters also issuing a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice on Friday The wintry showers will become more widespread over the next 24 hours, with forecasters also issuing a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice on Friday 

The wintry showers will become more widespread over the next 24 hours, with forecasters also issuing a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice on Friday

This image shows the temperature across the country as well as the wind speed, precipitation and air pressure as Storm Caroline sweeps across the UK. It also shows how the UK compares to other countries on the continentThis image shows the temperature across the country as well as the wind speed, precipitation and air pressure as Storm Caroline sweeps across the UK. It also shows how the UK compares to other countries on the continent

This image shows the temperature across the country as well as the wind speed, precipitation and air pressure as Storm Caroline sweeps across the UK. It also shows how the UK compares to other countries on the continent

Where is Storm Caroline hitting – and what temperatures can we expect?

Friday 0.05am to Saturday 6pm

  • Snow and ice warning for up to 8in of snow in Scotland and Wales, and down the UK's western coast

Scotland's Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: 'With stormy weather expected across the north of Scotland we would urge people to check with their operators before they travel, especially if they are planning a ferry journey.

'There may also be bridge restrictions, particularly for high-sided vehicles, and we would urge road users to check the latest information on wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website to see where this is likely.'

And a North Sea platform has shut down production due to safety fears over weather conditions caused by Storm Caroline.

CNR International said it would remove all of the 159 staff on Ninian South, about 240 miles from Aberdeen, from the structure as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Storm Caroline also brings a frontal system, which will mean a wet and windy start for the southern half of the UK, before cold temperatures set in.

It covers much of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and parts of northern and western England.

Met Office meteorologist John West said: 'Storm Caroline is well on its way across northern parts of the UK.

'There will be devastating winds in some parts.

'More broadly across Scotland there will be 60mph-70mph gusts, but in exposed areas we could see 90mph.'

With the latest forecasts predicting heavy snow over the next few days, the bookies are offering just 1/3 on snow falling anywhere in the UK on Saturday or Sunday.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: 'All the attention so far has been on a likely White Christmas, but the latest odds are suggesting we'll see snow a lot sooner than expected as we strap ourselves in and wrap ourselves up for a potentially record-breaking December.'

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

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In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

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Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

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A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

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Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

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