Woman misses last moments with mum after flight cancelled

WHEN Kerry Murray missed a call from her father while shopping, she knew something wasn't right.

"He usually rings every night and he didn't ring the night before," she said.

Kerry's mother, Gloria Hazel Anderson, was at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane suffering from septic shock.

Gloria had been in and out of hospital a week at a time since Christmas and things weren't looking up.

"It was hard for Dad to talk about Mum's condition, so when he called I knew it was serious," Kerry said.

On the afternoon of March 2, Kerry made her way to Gladstone Airport to board her 5.45pm Qantas flight to Brisbane to bid her final farewell.

But when her flight was listed as delayed, she had an inkling the evening might not go according to plan.

"I kept watching the monitor and it said my flight was delayed, but when it flashed up as cancelled, my heart sank," she said.

Airline staff told Kerry the next flight wouldn't be until the next morning.

"I was sobbing uncontrollably at the airport," Kerry says. "It was a lot to go through. This was just such an important flight and I couldn't take it."

That night Kerry received the phone call she had been dreading. Gloria passed away in hospital that night at 10pm.

"That was a hard night," Kerry recalled. "She was a very strong lady and very determined; she kept fighting."

Kerry said her two sisters also failed to make the trip due to circumstances beyond their control.

One sister was stuck in Tasmania; another was flooded in by the January rains.

The next morning Kerry's 7.55am flight from Gladstone arrived safely in Brisbane.

"If my flight wasn't cancelled I would have been able to say my last goodbye," she said.

Kerry thanked Qantas staff for assisting her during the difficult time.

"The ground staff was great. I just feel the pilots need some kind of instrument to be able to land," she said.

Bad weather cancelled flight

VISIBILITY for pilots in and out of Gladstone Airport is still an issue during poor weather conditions.

QantasLink said extremely poor weather conditions were behind the cancellation of Boyne Island resident Kerry Murray's flight.

"We were unable to land a number of aircraft," the Qantas representative said.

"Safety is our number one priority and we would never put our customers in a situation where their safety is compromised. Our thoughts are with the customer at this difficult time."

In 2011, Santos GLNG, QCLNG, APLNG and Arrow Energy injected $10.5 million into the installation of an Instrument Landing System to assist landing in poor conditions at Gladstone.

In January, Gladstone Airport Corporation CEO Phillip Cash said the system would be completed in 2014.

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