'Utter carnage' as Eurotunnel passengers trapped under English Channel for hours
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Eurotunnel passengers have spoken of 'utter carnage' after they were forced to evacuate a train after it appeared to break down under the English Channel. Watch here:
The travellers were transferred to a cargo train, but complained of being stuck in the sub-sea tunnel for nearly five hours, citing issues with the replacement transport.
The apparent breakdown yesterday (Tuesday 23 August) affected the 3.50pm Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service from Calais to Folkestone and led to hundreds of passengers being ushered into a service tunnel.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle initially announced on Twitter that the train had broken down; however, a spokesperson subsequently told the BBC that the train hadn't broke down, but the trains alarms had sounded and this needed to be investigated.
Sarah Fellows, from Birmingham, said the disruption meant her return journey from a family holiday in France would take 18 hours.
The 37-year-old told the PA news agency: "The service tunnel was terrifying. It was like a disaster movie.
"You were just walking into the abyss not knowing what was happening. We all had to stay under the sea in this big queue.
"Fire and rescue were there. There was a woman crying in the tunnel, another woman having a panic attack who was travelling alone.
"They were expecting really older people to walk for a mile down the middle of a tunnel under the sea.
"It was utter carnage when we arrived in Folkestone as they hadn't really prepared for us arriving."
Michael Harrison, from Cranbrook, Kent, said it took six hours for him to eventually emerge from underneath the Channel.
He said: "We got on the 3.50pm crossing, approximately 10 minutes in the lights went out and the train stopped. We were told they needed to investigate an issue with the wheels.
"It took approximately one and a half hours for them to investigate and obviously not find anything. They reset things and set off for another five minutes.
"It happened again at which time we waited a further couple of hours to decide they couldn't see a problem but had to evacuate the train to another train. After further waiting we left the train through the emergency link tunnel to the service tunnel."
He continued: "We then walked approximately 10 minutes to a train in front of the stricken train. This was a bus carriage where we got transported to Folkestone.
"That train then stopped as it couldn’t get traction, presumably as it was long and had no weight on it. There were gasps of incredulity when that was announced.
"We finally arrived in Folkestone six hours after boarding."
A train has broken down in the tunnel and we are in the process of transferring customers to a separate passenger shuttle via the service tunnel, to return to our Folkestone terminal. We apologise sincerely for this inconvenience. pic.twitter.com/w98HZPAU7M— Eurotunnel Le Shuttle (@LeShuttle) August 23, 2022
Another passenger who was evacuated - but did not want to be named - said that 'several people were freaking out about being down in the service tunnel, it's a bit of a weird place'.
He added: "We were stuck down there for at least five hours.
"If I've got a gripe it's that they knew several hundred people were arriving at Folkestone who hadn't eaten for five, six or more hours and there was absolutely nothing for us here.
"Just huge queues for Burger King."