I was on a flight from Alicante to Leeds yesterday.
When the fire broke out in the airport it was noticed by passengers some 20mins prior to any security staff at the terminal, gate B area.
No information was given to passengers, as airport staff then made no attempt to speak in English – if you were Spanish, or spoke Spanish, the staff did respond to enquiries.
To my mind, this heightens the danger of unclear instruction and communications during a major fire incident involving a passengers of varying nationalities.
At the airport, I observed English, Dutch, French and German travellers – but there was no tannoy system announcing the emergency evacuation in these languages. The existing system in Spanish could not be heard beyond confused, muffled tones.
A review of this crisis means serious questions must be asked of airport security and police, at least concerning the strategic preparation for such an emergency. Having participated in it, as one of thousands of passengers, the plan and responses looked random, chaotic, inhumane and brutal.
Passengers – whether old, frail, infirm, disabled or with babies in theirs arms – were brutally treated by attending authorities and police who merely screamed at them in Spanish. Police bullied the infirm and disabled, so they could not sit down or rest after hours of being herded out onto the airport forecourt.
Costa Coffee staff outside the terminals were among the worst culprits as they stacked chairs on top of each other so people suffering with exhaustion or disability could not sit and were moved on by screaming police officers.
In the end, disabled and infirm passengers had to stand their ground and do a sit-in, ignoring the badgering and harassment of Costa staff.
Politicians and airport authorities should investigate what happened have witnesses to give accounts as this was the most hellish pandemonium for thousands of innocent passengers who should never have suffered this humiliation or treatment.
There were no toilets facilities with the airport being locked down for hours. There were no humanitarian offers of water and essential items to passengers. I would also like the British Embassy to look at this outrageous treatment of its citizens.
My own airline, Ryanair, had staff who could not give any information, instead who giving false instructions to leave the airport and make our own way home to the Uk – or wait for two days with the possibility of transfers to Mercia’s airport.
When a member of the airline did speak, it was in poor, broken English, largely incomprehensible.
Even 10-12 hours after the evacuation, and once taken by coach to Murcia airport for an early morning flight on Thursday, Ryanair gave no extra water to passengers, no essential food or indeed any real thought to their welfare.
Mr O Leary should hang his head in shame as he leaves the job of CEO with Ryanair. Livestock in transit would be better treated on this arduous journey.
This letter has been sent to Dr Mcparlin’s MP, to Costa Coffee, to Ryanair and to the British Consulate in Alicante