Southampton mum says son is stranded on coach in Port of Dover …
Aimee Moore says her 14-year-old boy is among a group of children from Bitterne Park School travelling to Holland for a football tournament in Eindhoven.
However, disruption at the Kent port has delayed their sailing as dozens of coaches and lorries wait to cross the Channel.
The group set off yesterday at 7.15am but when they arrived, Aimee says they were told to go into a loading bay at a service station where they remained for seven hours.
They were eventually told to make their way back to the ferry only to get stuck for a further 12 hours.
The mum-of-one says she was left “sleepless” last night worrying about her son.
She said there are around 32 boys and girls aged between 14 and 15 on the trip.
This was her son’s first school trip abroad.
She told the Daily Echo: “The teachers have been absolutely amazing, they have kept the kids’ spirits high.
“When they did get called back to the ferry they were under the impression they would be sailing through the night but they haven’t.
“Apparently it is absolute mayhem.
“You felt a slight comfort them being at a service station because they have toilets and can get food.
“But being stuck on the coach they can’t get off because they’re surrounded by cars, lorries, and coaches.
“They only have one toilet and I can’t imagine what that is like after 23 hours.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night, I’ve been very stressed and upset.”
It’s believed the group will be sailing to France soon, but Aimee fears they will be facing the same “chaos” when they return on Wednesday.
Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, said the backlog is “unforgivable”.
He said: “Everyone knew this would be a busy weekend and to not have enough staff is unforgivable.
“It would appear the backlog had been caused primarily on the French side with too few staff to check passports.
“I feel dreadfully sorry for all those affected and I hope the delays will soon be over and people can get on with their holidays.”
Extra sailings were run overnight to try and clear the backlog, which has left passengers stuck in traffic for hours, but by Sunday morning the port estimated some travellers could still face waits of up to eight hours, depending on the ferry operator.
A port spokesman said: “The additional sailings have assisted in clearing some of the traffic, although currently both DFDS and P&O have two full lanes of coaches in the port before French border controls, with a processing time of about 4.5 hours.
“P&O have some coaches waiting at the cruise terminal and DFDS have some at service stations in Kent.
“Once coaches are processed in an operator’s lane, more are being sent to the port. Currently, the estimated total time is six to eight hours dwell time.”
- ^ football (www.dailyecho.co.uk)
- ^ disruption (www.dailyecho.co.uk)
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