South Shields man’s DIY escape from Egypt after Sharm el-Sheikh plane crash

Craig Hobson arrives back home from Egypt
Craig Hobson arrives back home from Egypt

A businessman from South Tyneside has told of how he made a DIY exit from Egypt after becoming caught up in the fall-out from the aircraft disaster at Sharm el-Sheikh.

Craig Hobson arrived back in South Shields on Sunday after a promised flight home on Saturday was cancelled.

Craig Hobson arrives back home from Egypt

Craig Hobson arrives back home from Egypt

Mr Hobson, 42, decided to make alternative travel arrangements – catching a flight on a Turkish airline to Istanbul and then flying on to Heathrow, then Newcastle.

After leaving Sharm el-Sheikh at 3am on Saturday morning, Mr Hobson, who runs TVR Removals, and was travelling with his friend, Robert Storey, also from South Shields, arrived home just after 3pm on Sunday.

He said: “We found out on Friday evening that the flight which was supposed to take us home on Saturday had been cancelled.

“I had already been looking at alternative arrangements and a Turkish operator called Pegasus had seats available from Sharm to Instanbul.

“We left at 3am on Saturday morning.”

He added: “I don’t think the insurance will cover the extra expense but it was worth it to get home. We were also able to take our luggage which we would not have been able to do if we had waited for our holiday firm to organise our trip home.

“The way things are going, we could have waited anything from five to 10 days.”

Mr Hobson, 42, was among thousands of British holidaymakers at the Egyptian resort who were stranded when the British Government grounded flights after a Russian plane crashed in the Sinai Desert soon after taking off last Saturday with the loss of 224 lives.

The Government believes it was brought down by a terrorist bomb – leading it halting flights to the airport from this country.

Russia followed suit on Friday - adding some 80,000 to the number of people needing to be repatriated.

Passengers flying from the area have been told they can only take hand luggage – with their cases following them on another flight at a later date.

Mr Hobson added: “Security was very tight at the airport.

“They even searched the car before they let us into the car park.

“After we’d checked in, a bus took us to the plane and they had laid out all of our luggage on the ground and we had to each identify it before it was loaded in the hold.”

Despite the expense and inconvenience, Mr Hobson believes the British Government made the right decision.

He said: “The problems we have had are minute when compared to the fact that 224 people died.

“People have been inconvenienced and frustrated but the Government made the right decision to suspend flights.”

Meanwhile, airlines have delayed the resumption of flights from the UK to Sharm el-Sheikh amid continuing security concerns at the Egyptian airport.

Thousands of Britons are stranded in the Red Sea resort following the decision by the UK Government to suspend air links after a Russian plane crashed.

Investigators are understood to be 90% sure a noise picked up by the cockpit voice recorder in the final seconds of the flight was the sound of an explosion caused by a bomb.

No airlines are taking passengers from the UK directly to Sharm.

EasyJet, Monarch, Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines extended the period for which they have cancelled outbound flights up to and including November 25.

A Monarch spokesman said: “We recognise this is a very frustrating situation and apologise for the inconvenience this is causing our customers.”

British Airways said it will not operate flights up to November 23, adding that the situation is “under review”.

Flights to bring holidaymakers home resumed on Friday although tight security restrictions are limiting the number of services, meaning many passengers are being forced to extend their trip.