Passengers exit Eurotunnel by foot after five hours stranded under the Channel

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Frightened Eurotunnel passengers spent almost five hours stranded under the English Channel after their train broke down.

Following an issue with Tuesday's (August 23) 3.50pm Le Shuttle service from Calais to Folkestone, the hundreds of customers onboard were transferred onto a cargo train in a service tunnel, which also developed a problem of its own.

Social media videos soon emerged of people and families – some with dogs and suitcases – walking through the alternative tunnel, which runs alongside the 31-mile rail route between England and France.

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With gridlock building, members of the public were then told to stay away from Eurotunnel's Calais terminal until 6am this morning (August 24).

Commenting on the fiasco, Michael Harrison, from Kent, told the PA news agency that the initial train broke down just 10 minutes into the journey as passengers were told there was a problem with its wheels.

He added that a one-and-a-half hour investigation then took place before the train set off again, only to be once more brought to a halt five minutes later.

Following another two-hour wait, according to Mr Harrison, that train was evacuated and the passengers made their way to the service tunnel via an emergency link route.

A 10-minute walk to the cargo train ensued, only for it to hit a standstill to the astonishment of everybody present.

An unnamed passenger said that "several people were freaking out about being down in the service tunnel, it’s a bit of a weird place".

Kate Scott, 43, also described how a planned 35-minute journey from Calais to Folkestone had taken her and her family almost eight hours, with people getting agitated due to the lack of air con.

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Another passenger, Sarah Fellows, 37, added: "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.

"I was panicking at one point and Border Force told us the tunnel had been evacuated one other time in the last 17 years."


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