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Paging Tom Hanks! Spaniard finds himself stuck at airport for months like character in ‘The Terminal’

Rodrigo Ben-Azul has spent last eight weeks stuck at Santiago Airport in Chile trying to get a return flight home to Spain. At nights he sleeps in small corners and during the days he wanders the concourses with luggage in tow.

A tourist has been stranded in an airport for more than two months in a real-life tale that has echoes of Tom Hanks' smash-hit movie "The Terminal."

Spaniard Rodrigo Ben-Azul has become a familiar sight at Santiago Airport, in the capital of Chile, ever since he ran out of money.

He told newspaper PubliMetro that he arrived in the South American country in November to "resolve a dispute" with family members that lived there. But, after failing to work out the issue, he returned to the terminal and has spent the last eight weeks - including over Christmas and New Year - waiting for relatives in Spain to send him money for his return flight.

He told Chilean TV station Megavision: 'I am trying to return to Spain. I'm waiting for them to send me money for the ticket'.

Airport workers have said he has a daily routine, involving pushing abandoned luggage trolleys back into their spaces so he can claim the money.

At night he finds a small corner where he sleeps, and during the day Ben-Azul spends his time looking for food in dustbins and cigarette ends which can still be smoked.

Little else is known about the man, who is often seen wandering the concourses, luggage in tow and headphones firmly placed in his ears.

His story has echoes of the 2004 comedy movie, also starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, where Hanks' character Viktor Navorski is trapped in a terminal at New York's John F Kennedy Airport.
Denied entry into the U.S., he cannot return to his fictitious country of Krakozhia due to a revolution, and so he stays in the terminal for nine months until the conflict is over.

It's not really funny. Read about Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who had to live in a Paris airport terminal from 1988 to 2006. He went insane.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri
David2074's avatar

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I'm a bit surprised the airport tolerates it but that is nice of them.
Also, if he has been there that long and on the news and stuff I'm surprised the airline he flew out on doesn't give him a space available seat on one of their flights. Other than a bit of additional fuel due to a few more pounds on the plane it would cost them nothing and it would make them look like the good guys and be cheap advertising when the news reported their charitable act. I'm sure they don't want folks scamming on them about not being able to afford a ticket but I doubt many people would be willing to live in an airport for months just to get a free ticket.
Honey of the South's avatar

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Must've bought one-way instead of round-trip...
Why the heck has it been taking so long for his family to get him the money he needs to return home?

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