Entire 737 chartered to move just one asylum seeker

AN ENTIRE 737 plane was chartered just to fly one injured asylum seeker from Christmas Island to Perth, it has emerged.

The aircraft, which usually carries around 130 passengers flew the man, a detention centre guard and an immigration to Perth on Saturday so the man could receive urgent medical attention.

The man is believed to be on the asylum seeker boat which sank last week and was being treated for two severed fingers.

The Immigration Department has confirmed the plane was used to transport the man.

However, a department spokesman told the West Australian the decision was made to use the jet to move the man because it was already sitting on standby at Christmas Island's airport and it was the "quickest and best" way to get him to Perth for treatment.

Three other asylum seekers who were also badly injured during the sinking were flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth for treatment on Friday.

But the man flown to Perth on the 737 could not go on that flight as he was part of a second group of 16 survivors brought to shore that evening.

The Immigration Department added it would have been too costly to call the Flying Doctor Service back out to transport the man.


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