The elderly woman went into ‘respiratory distress’ as she left the Qantas plane at Canberra Airport and she later died in hospital

    Canberra Airport

    A woman collapsed and died after being exposed to bushfire smoke as she got off a plane in Australia.

    The elderly woman suffered from 'respiratory distress' after getting off the Qantas flight from Brisbane to Canberra.

    The tarmac was filled with dense smoke from the bushfires which continue to devastate large swathes of Australia.

    Since September the bushfires have killed 18 people and destroyed more than 1,200 homes across New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria.

    At least 17 people remain missing.

    Australian media reports that the woman, from Canberra, was alive when she left the plane but relatives believe she went into respiratory distress after disembarking.

    The extreme hot and windy weather condition in Australia has sparked the bushfires to continue
    (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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    ACT police and ambulance were called to the airport to assist.

    A spokeswoman said: "ACT Policing were called to the Canberra Airport following the unsuspicious death of a woman at around 4.15pm today.

    “A report will be prepared for the coroner.”

    At least 18 people are believed to have died in the bushfires as firefighters continue to battle the flames
    (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

    Vehicles gutted by bushfires are seen in the town of Lake Conjola
    (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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    This week, the air quality in Canberra’s south reached a level more than 20 times above hazardous and the recorded index rating was higher than the world’s most polluted city, New Delhi in India.

    Acting chief health officer Dr Paul Dugdale said on New Year’s Day the capital experienced the worst air quality conditions since ratings began to be measured 15 years ago.

    He said: “It’s a particularly difficult time for people with heart and lung conditions who are sensitive to smoke, our message to them is to follow your doctor’s advice, take your medications and if you have got an asthma action plan, put that into effect."

    The fires continue to rage out of control
    (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

    Firefighters struggling against the strong wind
    (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

    Thousands of people are already fleeing a vast "tourist leave zone" in NSW, with supplies running low in some cut-off towns. It's been called "the largest relocation out of the region ever".

    The leader of NSW has declared a week-long state of emergency in response to the escalating bushfire threat.

    High temperatures and strong winds are forecast for the weekend, leading to "widespread extreme fire danger".

    The state of emergency will kick in at 08:00 on Friday (9pm UK time on Thursday) and last for seven days.

    It will allow local authorities to carry out forced evacuations, road closures "and anything else we need to do as a state to keep our residents and to keep property safe", NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday.

    Sourse: www.mirror.co.uk

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