Eurostar Passengers Told Not To Breathe So Hard As They Ran Out of Air
A hero grandmother told how she was forced to break down the door of a stranded Eurostar train yesterday -fearing for the lives of her two grandchildren trapped inside, struggling to breathe.
Yvonne Lewis, 54, below, was among more than 2,000 British passengers stuck with hardly any food or water for up to 18 HOURS in searing 40C (104F) heat when five trains broke down in the Channel Tunnel wreaking travel mayhem.
Terrified holidaymakers many on their way back from Disneyland Paris say they were treated like caged -animals by Eurostar staff who even told some to stop breathing so -heavily as there is not enough oxygen for -everyone.
Many thought they had been hit by a bomb as the trains ground to a sudden halt and were plunged into darkness due to a technical fault, believed to have been caused by a giant blocks of ice falling off the bottom of the carriages.
Women passed out, children were vomiting, fights broke out, and people were forced to urinate in the aisles amid chaotic scenes, while nearly 1,500 -passengers including supermodel Claudia Schiffer were told to evacuate their trains and find their own way in darkness to rescue locomotives.
Yvonne, from North London, told how she had no option but to stage her -dramatic rescue when she saw grandsons Rhys, 10, and Ben, seven, who suffers from diabetes, were close to fainting.
They had boarded the Eurostar after a holiday at Disney as a treat to Ben who has endured years of cancer tests but it quickly turned to horror.
The 5ft 2in gran a qualified first-aider said: Wed been sat trapped in a train for four hours and no one told us what was going on. I couldnt just sit there. My grandsons were close to fainting and some children had vomited.
The driver locked himself in the -engine room and we were knocking on the door asking what was going on you could just hear him inside, crying. Passengers were getting very angry.
We were desperate as we couldnt breathe in there and it was like a sauna but all we were told on the intercom was to inhale less and keep seated.
I asked two other passengers to help me break down the door to get out. We had to make a break for it for the sake of the children. It was a shambles.
The boys mum Denise Hawyard, 33, said her sons were left traumatised by the ordeal.
She added: We were in the tunnel, about 10 minutes from UK, when we heard this almighty bang. At first, we thought it was a bomb or something it sounded like an explosion or that the train had derailed.
Then we were just left there. People got frustrated and they were even -charging for water. We were forced to wait in the dark for two hours before being told to evacuate.
But by this time the boys were really hungry. Ben is diabetic and it was like a sauna inside the carriage. We couldnt breathe and I was trying to get someone to refrigerate the insulin for Ben.
A French doctor finally came round to see him because he was looking so poorly we were getting desperate to get some food in him.
But the doctor just said, Leave his blood to run high. Its all right. But I was terrified he would pass out, which is why Mum had to smash down the door.
The way Eurostar treated us was absolutely atrocious. The nightmare began on Friday evening as five trains set out from Brussels and Paris in -freezing temperatures and the worst snow storms France has seen for eight years.