Disneyland Paris coach blast: Stockton mother tells of dramatic escape

The coach on fire Image copyright Temoins BFMTV
Image caption The coach carrying 39 people was engulfed in flames after being hit by a tanker and lorry

A mother has described her dramatic escape from a coach that was destroyed in an explosion on the way to Disneyland Paris.

Kayleigh Wilkinson and her daughter Amelie-Jayde, four, were among 39 people on board the National Holidays coach which crashed with a tanker and lorry in France on Friday.

Two people involved in the crash died. All the bus passengers were unharmed.

The pair from Stockton still went to the resort to "salvage the holiday".

Image copyright Kayleigh Wilkinson/Facebook
Image caption Kayleigh Wilkinson formed a human chain with other passengers to get children off the coach

Ms Wilkinson, 27, from Stockton, was asleep at the time of the crash on the A1 near Paris.

She told BBC Tees: "The next thing I knew was hearing a really loud crash and the bus jolted forward.

"Bags were going everywhere and people were shouting."

Ms Wilkinson, who was also travelling with her sister, said the driver had to smash the emergency door as the tanker had come to rest against one side of the coach.

Tanker exploded

She said: "A passenger behind us said 'Everyone needs to get off right now because that tanker is on fire'.

"Everyone flew to the front of the bus and a gentleman and I were passing children between each other before the adults got off.

"We were shouting 'Give me the kids!' We were throwing children over the door to them to safety."

Image copyright Kayleigh Wilkinson
Image caption Ms Wilkinson was determined to carry on with the holiday for the sake of her four-year-old daughter

Moments after all passengers were off, the tanker exploded and engulfed the coach in flames, destroying everyone's luggage, including many passports.

Ms Wilkinson said: "Everything's gone, we literally only have the clothes on our back and our handbags, which had our passports in."

She said National Holidays was providing people with money and supporting all the passengers while arranging trips home.

'Salvage holiday'

Ms Wilkinson said she had remained determined to get to Disneyland Paris and the family arrived at the park on Saturday.

"We will try and salvage what we can from this holiday. We are staying; my little girl has been looking forward to this," she said.

A spokesman for National Holidays said: "Our team has worked through the night to get passengers to their destination at Disneyland Paris and provide options for them to return home or continue with their holiday, providing funds and helping to supply replacement clothing for those families whose luggage was damaged.

"At the moment, the majority of the 39 passengers have opted to stay in Disneyland.

"Such incidents are, thankfully, rare and we will be working closely with French investigators to establish the facts over the coming days."

Image copyright Sapeurs-pompiers de l'oise
Image caption Many of those on the coach decided to carry on with their holiday to Disneyland Paris despite losing all of their luggage in the blaze

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