A Zimbabwean family has been trapped in Bangkok’s main airport for two months, sleeping on sofas in a departure lounge and eating food provided by airport staff
Thai immigration officials said the family of four adults and four children had been trying to leave Thailand since the end of October but were left stuck at the airport because of visa irregularities.
They arrived in Thailand on tourist visas in May and officials said they were now refusing to travel back to Zimbabwe because of concerns about political tensions.
The family’s situation has been compared to the Hollywood film The Terminal, where Tom Hanks plays a man marooned in a New York airport.
The family had overstayed their visas in Thailand by five months, according to The Bangkok Post.
They were detained at the airport after they refused to go back to Zimbabwe, but on November 7 they bought tickets to Spain via Ukraine.
They only made it to Ukraine before they were sent back to Thailand because they did not have the correct visas.
They were not allowed to re-enter Thailand and were again detained at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
It was revealed the family had been stuck inside the airport after airport employee Kanaruj Artt Pornspolt posted a picture on Facebook of one of the young children from the family.
“The little girl Mashia from Zimbabwe has been stuck at the airport with her older brother and family for almost three months now because of instability in their home,” he wrote alongside the picture of him giving the girl a Christmas present.
The New Zimbabwe reports airport staff had been providing the family food and necessities and they had been using sofas in the departure lounge as beds.
The family did not want to return to Zimbabwe because of political tensions caused by former president Robert Mugabe, who was pushed out of his role by Zimbabwe’s military in November.
New President Emmerson Mnangagwa has encouraged people to return to the country and has claimed there will be new beginnings for Zimbabwe now it is not longer under Mr Mugabe’s rule.