Romford teenager on last flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to London
PUBLISHED: 13:29 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:29 27 November 2015
A 17-year-old who worked in a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh was one of the last passengers to be repatriated to the UK and calls on people not to be afraid to return to the holiday resort.
Ryan Machin, from Romford, took the last British Airways rapatriation flight to the UK on November 14, a fortnight after an Airbus A321 operated by a Russian company crashed in the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 people on board.
Ryan had flown out to the popular Egyptian holiday destination on October 13 after having signed a six-month contract with a luxurious five star hotel to work in its animation department, leaving his place at Havering Sixth Form College.
“I was told I had to leave and go back home,” he said.
His mother Michelle Bennett, who had been planning to visit her son for Christmas, said: “Thankfully he was home safe but I was very worried.”
She explained she suddenly found out the last direct flights back to the UK were only running for an extra few days and she “struggled” to buy the last ticket on the last BA flight back to Gatwick Airport.
But when Ryan stepped on the plane he counted only 26 people.
He described the scene of long queues at the airport where identity and language checks were taking place.
“On the flight home, I was actually more worried than in the resort itself,” he said describing the comfort of the hotel. He told the Recorder of the “weird and “confused atmosphere in the resort, where holiday-makers were desperate to get the latest news and were sometimes given just hours notice of their flights. Others wanted to enjoy their holiday while they could.
“As each day was going, there were less and less people – everyone was panicking but in the hotel itself people were saying it was safe.
“The hotel has since been closed down because there aren’t any tourists there anymore.”
Ryan said he would have stayed in Sharm el-Sheikh if flights to the UK had not been cancelled until at least early January, and he hopes to go back when direct flights operate again.
Ryan, who flew out of Egypt the day after the Paris attacks, believes “it can happen anywhere, at any time and you cannot worry about things like that and stay at home – you have to explore and do what you want to do.”
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