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‘In paradise but feels like prison’ - Family stranded in Egypt after flight cancelled

PUBLISHED: 13:06 21 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:06 21 March 2020

A family from Dereham have become stranded in Egypt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured (right to left) is Brenda and Whitehair, grandson Riley, aged four, son Ethan and daughter-in-law Georgia Hobbs. Picture: WHITEHAIR FAMILY

A family from Dereham have become stranded in Egypt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured (right to left) is Brenda and Whitehair, grandson Riley, aged four, son Ethan and daughter-in-law Georgia Hobbs. Picture: WHITEHAIR FAMILY

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A family from Dereham whose four-year-old grandson suffers from anxiety is appealing for help after becoming stranded in Egypt because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A family from Dereham have become stranded in Egypt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is the Sentido Mamlouk Palace, in Hurghada. Picture: WHITEHAIR FAMILYA family from Dereham have become stranded in Egypt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is the Sentido Mamlouk Palace, in Hurghada. Picture: WHITEHAIR FAMILY

Husband and wife Mark and Brenda Whitehair, both in their 50s, are currently on a two-week holiday in Hurghada with their son Ethan, daughter-in-law Georgia Hobbs and grandson Riley.

The family flew out two weeks ago and were due to fly back with easyJet on March 23, but they have been left stranded after their flight was cancelled and a suitable replacement has not yet been organised.

Mrs Whitehair, who booked the break with Holiday Gems, said: “We might be in paradise but it feels like prison.

“We still have food and the hotel is open until Monday but they’re emptying it out - there’s only very few people here.

“It’s just really scary. We don’t know what’s going on as everything is changing daily.”

The family are currently staying at the Sentido Mamlouk Palace and, as well as struggling to get home, Mrs Whitehair and her husband, who is asthmatic, are low on medication, their son had to be admitted to hospital for two days with sickness and grandson Riley is suffering with his anxiety.

She added: “We are told we will get rescue flights and they keep saying go online, but there’s nothing there.

“The travel agents and insurance companies just keep saying try to get a flight but it’s easier said than done. We don’t know what countries we can fly to or what countries we can get out of, as most countries are now going into lockdown and not flying to England anymore.”

Family friend Zoe Flint has been trying to help. The 55-year-old said: “We need to get them home. Along with friends Sam and Charli, we been doing everything we possibly can for them but we are running out of ideas.”

A spokesperson for easyJet said they were contacting customers directly, if details were provided at the time of booking, to keep travellers informed.

They added: “We would like to reassure customers that where we have had to cancel flights, we are committed to getting customers home as quickly as possible and we continue to operate rescue flights.

“We are working hard to provide a programme of repatriation flights which continue to be published on our latest travel information as soon as they are confirmed.”

Holiday Gems has also been contacted for a comment.

· easyJet customers can monitor flights via www.easyjet.com/en/policy/coronavirus-rescue-flights

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