A SOUTH Tyneside teenager has told of his horror at being stranded on board a ferry for hours after a fire broke out in a cabin.
Jake Nipper from South Shields was on the MS King Seaways sailing to Amsterdam when the blaze started at about 10.45pm on Saturday.
Six people had to be airlifted to hospital suffering with what is believed to have been smoke inhalation.
Two people were arrested in connection with the fire. The ferry was forced to return to North Shields.
The 18-year-old fitter, said people had heard the fire had been caused by someone who had fallen asleep while smoking in a cabin.
He added: “It has spoiled everyone else’s holidays. We have been stuck on that boat for hours now. I’m tired and I just want to go home.”
Fellow passengers from the North East have also spoken of their dismay at their holiday’s being ruined.
Julie Bell and Shaun Richardson, from Washington, were on a weekend away.
She said: “It was terrifying and I won’t be travelling by boat again. I think I will stay in the UK from now on, it’s a lot safer.”
Karl McMurrough, 18, from Pennywell, Sunderland, said: “We all got rushed on to the deck, there were helicopters, kids squealing, life jackets.
“There were a few people going wild - no one knew what was going on.
“I’m never going on a boat again. I’m horrified.”
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow thanked the emergency services for their help and praised the workforce for their calm and professional manner.