Witnesses describe panic scenes during evacuation on foot along service roads
Some 400 people were trapped in the Channel Tunnel for hours on Tuesday night after a train from Calais to Folkestone broke down. Passengers had to be evacuated on foot via a relief road normally used only by workers. They ran for ten to fifteen minutes, according to various witness statements, until they were eventually transferred to another unit, which also had problems with insufficient traction. Communication is now back to normal.
Le Shuttle, the company that operates the service, said the incident started when the train’s alarm was activated. The unit has been brought to a controlled stop and inspected. As a precaution, for their safety and comfort, users have been evacuated, a spokesman said. “We took them to the passenger terminal building, where food and drinks were available, then slowly pulled out the original shuttle and reunited them with their vehicles,” he added.
Sarah Fellows, 37, from Birmingham, told the PA news agency she found the service tunnel “terrifying”. “It was like a disaster movie. You just walked into the abyss without knowing what was happening. We all had to stay under the sea in this big line. One woman was crying. Another traveling alone had a panic attack” , he added.
Another passenger who identified himself as Mike Harrison, from Cranbrook, Kent, said they were “trapped for at least five hours”. and that the staff spent over an hour looking for the fault in the train after it broke down first before starting it.
“Some people got a little bit rebellious, a little bit stressed and had mild panic attacks,” Rachel Thynne told Radio Kent that the situation was “getting hotter”.
Source: La Verdad