Man who escaped managed isolation by ‘creating rope out of bedsheets’ gone for eight hours


CCTV footage has shown a man who allegedly escaped a managed isolation facility in Auckland by climbing down bedsheets from a fourth storey window was gone for more than eight hours.

Head of managed isolation and quarantine Air Commodore Darryn Webb said around 8.20am on Monday, on-site security staff at the Ramada on Federal St located a number of sheets tied together, hanging from a window of a fourth floor room.

As the matter was being investigated, the man from that room presented himself at the front gate of the hotel around 8.24am, he said.

He was immediately taken into police custody and faced questioning.

The man escaped from Ramada on Federal Street, central Auckland.

RYAN ANDERSON/Stuff

The man escaped from Ramada on Federal Street, central Auckland.

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On Tuesday, Webb said the investigation into the incident was ongoing.

CCTV footage reviewed as part of the investigation found the man walking around Aotea Square around 1am.

“Inquiries have established the man likely absconded shortly after midnight before returning to the facility on foot at 8.24am. The matter is still under investigation and some details about his movements are yet to be confirmed,” he said.

“The man has been viewed on CCTV walking in parts of Auckland, from the central city to Newmarket, Epsom, Onehunga and Mt Albert before returning to the facility on Federal Street.”

The man returned from Australia on a deportation flight on September 16. He has tested negative for Covid-19 twice and it is believed that the risk to the public is low.

Webb said security improvements at the facility will be made, including the installation of more CCTV cameras as well as extra lighting at the likely point of the man’s exit.

The man allegedly escaped from a fourth storey window at the isolation hotel.

RYAN ANDERSON/Stuff

The man allegedly escaped from a fourth storey window at the isolation hotel.

“The method of exit is still under investigation, but early indications are that absconder broke the security latch on his window to force his way out.

“Police have reviewed a range of CCTV footage, interviewed the absconder under strict Covid-19 protocols, conducted a preliminary scene examination at the facility and spoken with staff.”

The man has not been charged at this point.

On Monday, Webb said the man had put himself and others at risk and labelled his actions “unacceptable”.

“Wilfully leaving our facilities will not be tolerated, and the appropriate action will be taken.”

Rules were in place for all returnees, Webb said, and people were expected to follow them for the entirety of their 14-day isolation.

Webb said there have been more than 55,000 people through managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Of that, there had been nine incidents involving 13 people escaping.

“These incidents are rare, and we treat them extremely seriously.”

Despite the risk to the public being very low, anyone with concerns about their health should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

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