Plane carrying latest group of illegal boat arrivals in WA’s Kimberley region on way to Nauru

Rebecca Le May and Shannon Hampton
The Nightly
2 Min Read
It is believed more than 100 ADF personnel flooded the Mungalalu-Truscott airbase.
It is believed more than 100 ADF personnel flooded the Mungalalu-Truscott airbase. Credit: Megan Powell/WA News

Police have found a man who became separated from a group who arrived on an illegal boat in the remote Kimberley region.

The man was found alive on Sunday morning in the Mitchell Plateau area, according to a WA Police spokesman. His condition is now being assessed by authorities.

It comes as a plane believed to be carrying the rest of the group makes its way to Nauru after briefly stopping at a Queensland RAAF airbase.

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Information gathered from flight tracking websites shows the plane left RAAF Curtin Airbase at 3.55am on Sunday morning and landed at RAAF Amberley at 9.40am.

The Nauru Air plane is expected to leave the airbase at 10.40am before making a four-hour flight to Nauru where the group will be transported to a processing centre.

The latest illegal boat arrival is the third known landing in just five months in northern WA.

It has been reported the group, which comprised of nine people and as understood to be Chinese, landed at the Mungalalu-Truscott airbase in the far north Kimberley about 4pm on Friday.

It is the second landing since November at the Wunambal Gaambera-owned airbase, about 36km north-west of Kalumburu.

More than 100 Australian Defence Force personnel flooded the airbase in response to the arrivals.

And shortly after news broke of the arrival, WA Police revealed a major police search has been launched for a man who is believed to have become separated from the group.

Police said the search was in an “extremely remote area with challenging terrain”.

The Australian Border Force has so far remained silent on the arrival, saying “the Australian Border Force does not confirm or comment on operational matters”.

“As is long-standing practice, we do not confirm or comment on operational matters,” a spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said on Saturday.

The Kimberley has seen several illegal boats arrive since November, with the most recent in February, a group of 39 men from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They arrived in two groups, and were discovered after wandering into the Beagle Bay community.

In November, another group walked into the Truscott airbase before being taken offshore. Each non-citizen who has reached Australian shores by boat since November has been sent to Nauru.

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