Well don't you think it's more like: Dad is right now (as in this moment / curently) far away? I know it's just a matter of in which order the words appear, but beside that I agree with you :)
Yes, I was thinking the same. Maybe it's what they've discussed elsewhere about the emphasis of the sentence? Hopefully someone can clarify.
"distant" in American English usually means "is psychologically unavailable", not that a person is physically far away. "He has been so distant recently" means "He has been unwilling or unable to communicate with people around him; he seems like he doesn't care."