Suffolk family's Eurotunnel nightmare

IT took 19 hours for a Suffolk family to get home after becoming trapped inside the Channel Tunnel after wintry weather struck the under-sea link.

Richard Cornwell

IT took 19 hours for a Suffolk family to get home after becoming trapped inside the Channel Tunnel after wintry weather struck the under-sea link.

Lee and Jo Godfree , and their son Ethan, four, were returning from holiday at Disneyland Paris, when they were caught up in the chaos, which left four Eurostar trains stuck.

Passengers told how power failures left them all sitting in complete darkness, some suffering panic attacks, and hours later running short of food, drink and medication as they waited for help.

Mr Godfree, 41, of Linnet Drive, Stowmarket, said: “It was an absolute nightmare.

“The conditions we were left in were atrocious, with little communication and people getting very frustrated and worried.

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“When it came to evacuating the train passengers had to organise it themselves.”

The family left the Disney park at 6.40pm UK time on Friday and eventually got back home at 1.10pm Saturday.

“The holiday was absolutely fabulous but the journey home was awful and put a bit of a dampener on it,” said Mr Godfree, who works for PPG Industries at Stowmarket.

“What really made people angry was when relatives were ringing and texting telling us it was good to hear we were safe and comfortable in an hotel thanks to Eurostar, which was being reported by the media.

“At the time we were crammed with 700 other passengers on a shuttle train, babies and children having to sit on the filthy floors, with all the doors and windows shut and no air conditioning.

“It was a car transporter, like a cattle truck.

“It was absolute pandemonium.

“It was very scary for the children and elderly people. We had a lady in a wheelchair and a lady who was seven months pregnant and we had asthma attacks, people were fainting on the train. People were very, very panicky.”

Mr Godfree said he and his wife, 37, and son, thought initially the breakdown would be quite short and the problem would be fixed.

“They told us it would be 15 to 20 minutes and we would be on our way. That became half and hour. Then after that we were hardly told anything,” he said.

“The power went off and we were sitting in darkness.

“Some people had panic attacks, food and drink ran out, and because it was so hot with no fresh air people were in real discomfort.”

Mr Godfree said when the relief train arrived the passengers, led by an Essex policeman, had to organise the evacuation of the train. He praised the community spirit of the passengers and the excellent behaviour of the children.

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