Coronavirus turns Estonian to real-life “The Terminal” man after being stranded in airport for over 100 days


  • Roman Trofimov from Estonia arrived in Manila, Philippines in March but was not granted a visa on arrival since the country stopped issuing visas and stopped incoming and outgoing flights due to the coronavirus restrictions.
  • Repatriation flights were also not available and so Trofimov stayed at the airport terminal for 110 days and survived by sleeping on the floors and being given food by terminal staff.
  • Trofimov was finally able to return to Estonia last July 7.

Have you heard of the movie The Terminal?  It is a 2004 film that stars Tom Hanks who gets stranded in an airport during a war. This 2020, Roman Trofimov of Estonia is seen as the new “The Terminal” man when he got stranded for 100 days at the international airport in Manila, Philippines due to the of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Photo Credit: Roman Trofimov/Facebook

After arriving from Bangkok, Thailand on an Air Asia flight, Trofimov was not permitted to leave the departure area because the Philippines had stopped issuing visas on arrival. Return flights were also not possible as it also has stopped flights to and from the country.

Trofimov made several calls to his embassy but to no avail since there was no repatriation flight available. Estonian embassy officials issued a statement that said, Trofimov made his flight when coronavirus warnings have already been issued plus, he holds a “grey” visa meaning he lives in the country but is not an Estonian citizen.

“It is important to note that he flew to the Philippines during a time when countries had announced emergency situations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had given a travel warning.”

Trofimov appealed on social media instead to gain attention. He said, “I am a person with disability, my health is getting worse because of malnutrition, lack of sun and fresh air.”

He stayed for 110 days at the airport by sleeping on the airport’s floor, and survived on donated food from the staff and snacks at the airport.    

On July 7, Trofimov posted on Facebook that he was able to return to Tallinn, Estonia.  

“Thank you to everyone who spread information online, gave me advice and just supported me with a kind word,” he wrote. “Together we did it!”

Source: New York Post

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