Qantas steps in for couple hoping for a wedding 'miracle' after flood chaos

Hannah Jeffries and her fiancé Dylan Stitt were 'hoping for a miracle' after their flight to Cairns was cancelled.

An Aussie couple who were facing missing their wedding on Friday have been blessed with a Christmas "miracle" thanks to our national airline Qantas stepping in to save the day.

Hannah Jeffries and her fiancé Dylan Stitt were booked to fly out of Queensland's Cape York region and into Cairns on Tuesday morning, before travelling south to Tannum Sands, near Gladstone where they have plans to marry. But the closure of Cairns Airport due to flooding this week threw their plans into chaos, with their cancelled flight leaving them stranded.

The airport, which is the seventh busiest in Australia, was forced to close on Sunday after its runway became flooded, with planes partly submerged on the airport tarmac. Although it's since cleared and the airport reopened on Tuesday morning, the temporary interruption caused significant flight delays and cancellations in and out of the area, with airlines still dealing with the aftermath

Queensland couple Hannah Jeffries and her fiance Dylan Stitt on beach with baby.
Hannah Jeffries and her fiancé Dylan Stitt, who have an 11-month-old son, were facing missing their wedding due to cancelled flights in Queensland. Source: Cape York Weekly

Qantas steps up for stranded couple

Panicked, and fearing their 60 guests will be celebrating without them, Jeffries said on Tuesday "at this stage, we aren't going to make it," referring to their wedding.

"We know there is a disaster going on and we don't want to come across as unsympathetic because we feel awful for those impacted by the floods, but we'd really love to get home for our wedding," she told Cape York Weekly, adding they were "hoping for a miracle".

And a miracle is what they got as the elated couple revealed Qantas had arranged a flight on Thursday after their struggle was made public. According to Cape York Weekly, "Qantas has personally made sure they are booked all the way through from Weipa to Gladstone" where their friends and family are waiting.

"We are delighted that Hannah and Dylan are able to make their wedding on time," a Qantas spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

This image from a video, shows partially-submerged small planes at Cairns Airport in Cairns, Australia Monday, Dec. 18, 2023. More than 300 people were rescued overnight from floodwaters in northeast Australia, with dozens of residents clinging to roofs, officials said on Monday. (Australian Broadcasting Corp. via AP)
Cairns Airport was closed after it flooded, leaving planes partially submerged on the tarmac. Source: AP

Ex-cyclone Jasper clean-up to cost 'tens of millions'

The clean-up from ex-cyclone Jasper is now underway throughout Queensland and is expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars, although it's still "too early" to know the full scale of the damage, Emergency Services Minister Murray Watt said.

"It’s going to be a very expensive repair bill. It’s a little too early to know the full scale of the damage, but we do know that there’s widespread damage to state and local roads across the region," he said.

"Some of the roads will take some time to repair – you will have seen some of the damage is enormous – but we obviously want to get the freight routes opened up as we can, and work is already beginning on that."

Royal Australian Navy personnel work with civilian emergency services to evacuate members of the public in Cairns, Australia, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023. Officials say more than 300 people have been rescued from floodwaters in northeast Australia, with dozens of residents clinging to roofs. (Australian Defense Dept via AP)
Clean-up is now underway across parts of Queensland with Royal Australian Navy personnel working to help civilians. Source: AP

Some Far North Queensland areas had up to two metres of rain over the past week, prompting hundreds to flee their homes or seek shelter on rooftops before being rescued. Tens of thousands were also without power. Some communities still remain trapped in floodwater in the wake of this week's disaster which the state's new premier Steven Miles described as "the worst" natural disaster he can remember seeing.

Anthony Albanese announced on Wednesday a one-off payment of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child who had suffered a significant loss as a result of the floods. People who live and work in the Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Mareeba, Tablelands and Wujal Wujal council areas can access this payment from 2pm on Wednesday.

with NCA Newswire/AAP

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