The first Royal Australian Air Force flights have flown Australians out of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu after delivering 15 tonnes of aid for the earthquake-hit nation.
More than 100 Australians — a mix of trekkers, tourists, and volunteer workers — were flown to Bangkok on two RAAF C-17 Globemaster transport planes.
But more Australian trekkers and tourists remain stranded, including many more in the trekking hub of Lukla, near Mount Everest.
Over the coming days there are expected to be more evacuation flights, as trekkers make their way back to Kathmandu.
Tasmanian Leigh Ellis was happy to be headed for Bangkok.
“I guess once we get back to Thailand, have a few drinks, and everything will be OK then hopefully,” she said.
Most of the evacuees had been camped out at the Australian embassy since the quake.
They were bussed to the airport and ushered quickly onto the tarmac with the help of consular staff.
The evacuees flew into Bangkok with the kind of travel stories they had not bargained for when they set off on their journeys.
Melbourne woman Jess Smith, 21, was in Nepal volunteering at a school when the quake hit and said she found it troubling to leave.
“It’s a guilty sort of relief. We’re fine and we know that we’re going to be safe but we’re still really praying for everyone that can’t just fly away from their problems like we can.”
Australian ambassador to Nepal Glenn White has been tasked with leading the effort to account for the hundreds of Australians who were in Nepal when the quake hit.
“We’ve located most Australians, or at least we think they’re safe,” he said.