Magic Miles skipper and coronavirus victim Michael Crew in Hobart. PICTURE CHRIS KIDD
Magic Miles skipper and coronavirus victim Michael Crew in Hobart. PICTURE CHRIS KIDD

Pilot tests positive for virus a second time

IT came as no shock to Qantas captain and Sydney-Hobart skipper Michael Crew when he tested positive for the coronavirus last month - what did shock him was testing positive a second time.

Mr Crew, 53, of Hobart, thought he was clear of the virus after a month in quarantine.

He was due for a lung capacity test on Monday in Perth, where he is based as an international airline pilot, but that was scrapped when the test to clear him of the virus came back positive.

"I was shocked. I thought I was clear of it, but it turns out I still had it - at least the residual DNA of the virus still in my system," he said.

Hobart sailor Michael Crew is a Qantas pilot and a Sydney to Hobart yacht race skipper.
Hobart sailor Michael Crew is a Qantas pilot and a Sydney to Hobart yacht race skipper.

Mr Crew was tested again on Tuesday, and will get his new results sometime within the next 48 hours.

Recovering in his home-away-from-home in Perth, where he is based with Qantas, Mr Crew, 53, of Hobart, had flashbacks to an incident in a grocery store in London on his last international flight before the airline industry shutdown.

That morning he bought orange juice, grapes, watermelon, carrots and yoghurt as a healthy breakfast snack.

It came back to haunt him days later.

"The little, petite lady who was serving me coughed all over the goods that I'd bought, and I thought at the time 'am I going to have to throw all of this out'," Mr Crew said.

"That was playing on my mind as I waited for the result.

"When it did come through, and I was told I had COVID-19, it was still a surprise, but it was not a shock.".

A few days after Mr Crew arrived back to Perth from London, he had his first symptoms.

"I had a mild headache, and I never get headaches, and a mild fever and a mild cough," he said.

"The next day I had quite a fever - 39 degrees - and a thumping headache.

"On the following morning, which was a Saturday [March 21], I went to Royal Perth

Hospital's COVID-19 clinic to be tested. On the Sunday evening I was called by the Director of Public Health and she advised me I had tested positive."

 

 

Mr Crew was told there was not a lot WA Health could do for him except monitor him in isolation.

"The hospital and the healthcare workers over here have been fantastic," he said.

"They told me to rest and if my symptoms developed here's a hotline to call. They set up an SMS messaging service and you get contacted daily.

"You return a 'yes' or a 'no' to the message - 'yes' you still have symptoms or 'no' you're feeling good.

"I did have an occasion where my temperature spiked again and I had a bit of a coughing fit, and quite severe congestion in the chest and difficulty breathing.

"Being worried, I rang the hospital to see what might be next. They said 'rest, and if it gets any worse call us back and we'll send an ambulance'.

"From then they initiated a direct call daily from a doctor to discuss my conditions over the past 24 hours."

The crew of Magic Miles after finishing the 2019 Sydney to Hobart. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
The crew of Magic Miles after finishing the 2019 Sydney to Hobart. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

Mr Crew skippered his 62-foot yacht Magic Miles in last year's Sydney-Hobart. His crew included award-winning Australian actor Kerry Armstrong and on-board was a 75th anniversary barrel of whisky.

He described his coronavirus experience as a personal battle.

"It was more about how I coped and managed personally," he said.

"It's an individual thing. There's nothing really out there that medically can help you. It's whether your body can fight it or not. It was down to the isolation phase to rest and ride it out."

Any thoughts of a Sydney-Hobart campaign this year have been scrapped.

Originally published as Hobart pilot tests positive for virus a second time


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