Aussie newlyweds stranded in Paris lockdown make desperate plea

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

A Melbourne couple stuck in France amid Europe’s coronavirus lockdown have set up a crowdfunding page to help fund their flights home.

Bridget Caldwell and her husband Jack Bright are currently in Paris as part of their honeymoon but their dream trip has come to an abrupt end as French President Emmanuel Macron implemented a restrictive lockdown for the nation.

By Thursday (local time), France’s confirmed cases had surged beyond 10,000 and is ranked fifth globally for its death toll which stands at 243.

The couple were informed their flights to Spain, where a similar lockdown is in place following a huge increase in cases, were cancelled, followed by their accomodation and later bookings in Morocco.

Their flight back to Australia on March 29 has been cancelled, with the couple estimating they’ve been left $4000 out of pocket.

Ms Caldwell revealed they’ll unlikely be able to claim their flights and accomodation on their insurance.

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Jack Bright and Bridget Caldwell are stranded in France without a flight home. Source: GoFundMe

And while Scott Morrison urged for all Australians abroad to return immediately as international flight restrictions tightened further, hundreds have voiced their concerns and fears that such action might not be possible.

Thousands of Australians stranded overseas

Australians across multiple continents have said with border closures as well as escalating flight costs for the limited flights still in operation had meant it was becoming increasingly unlikely to fly home.

The Australian government previously warned it could not guarantee the evacuation of all Australians out of high-risk nations in a way they did with Australians trapped in Wuhan in February.

For the couple, who have children back home in Australia waiting for them, they’re desperately trying to get home by any means possible.

“We are safe, but we need to get home ASAP where we will be required to self isolate for 2 weeks before we can see our kids again,” Ms Caldwell explained on their GoFundMe page.

The couple had flown to Europe on their honeymoon. Source: Twitter

An added complication for the couple is Mr Bright’s chronic illness which has required meticulous planning for their trip.

The cheapest flights they can find are priced at $1800 each – money they say they simply don’t have.

Ms Caldwell, a freelance journalist, admits the concept of asking for financial help is “really cringe and hard”, however it’s become a last resort for the couple.

“It isn't easy having to reach out and ask for help at this time, but we need it, and any help is going to make such a big difference,” she explained.

The couple have raised $4,180 on their crowdfunding page as of 12.30pm on Friday (AEDT).

Ms Caldwell has since thanked everyone for their generosity during this “scary time”.

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