28 Sep 2020

Man climbed out of window to escape from managed isolation facility

6:56 pm on 28 September 2020

A man deported from Australia is believed to have tied sheets together to abscond from the fourth floor of a managed isolation facility this morning, but has since been found.

A police car outside a cordon in South Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, Air Commodore Darryn Webb, said an investigation is underway following the incident at the Ramada Federal Street managed isolation facility.

Security staff located a number of sheets tied together hanging from a window of a fourth floor room at about 8.20am this morning, Webb said. Initial indications is that the man used them to escape.

A few minutes later, while the matter was being investigated, the man appeared at the front gate.

"He was immediately taken into custody by police and he currently remains at the facility under questioning. So far, we have been unable to establish what time the man absconded the facility."

Webb said police enquiries were underway, including a review of CCTV footage to establish the man's movements outside the facility.

Security had been reviewed and immediate improvements made, Webb said.

Health officials say the public health risk has been assessed as low.

The man returned from Australia on a deportation flight on 16 September, and tested negative following his day 3 and day 12 tests. He is on day 12 of his stay.

Officials said he had been asymptomatic throughout his stay.

While his movements were still being determined, officials had so far not established any businesses or properties entered by the abscondee.

No deportees returning from Australia have tested positive for Covid-19.

There have been over 55,000 people through managed isolation and quarantine and only nine incidents involving 13 people absconding from managed isolation.

Webb said these incidents were rare and treated "extremely seriously".

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