Exhausted British holidaymakers have been left stranded in Majorca after a powerful storm ripped through the island, forcing families to run for their lives.
Many who were set to fly home from the Spanish island on Sunday were without a route as several flights were cancelled due to the weather, a problem that was compounded when Britain’s National Air Traffic Service suffered a technical issue.
To make matters worse, as they desperately went in search for accommodation to wait for the next available flight, families found nearby hotels were booked up or had hiked their room prices in anticipation of the increased demand.
Estela Orts, a dancer and acrobat known for her performances in Magaluf’s famous Pirate Show who posted video from the flight – wrote that she feared ‘THIS IS IT’ when the plane shook and dropped – causing people to scream, cry and vomit.
Exhausted British holidaymakers have been left stranded in Majorca after a powerful storm ripped through the island. Pictured: Hundreds of people are seen at Palma de Majorca airport after their flights were cancelled due to the powerful storm
Many who were set to fly home from the Spanish island on Sunday were without a route home as several flights were cancelled due to the weather, a problem that was compounded when Britain’s National Air Traffic Service suffered a technical issue
To make matters worse, as they desperately went in search for accommodation to wait for the next available flight, families found nearby hotels were booked up or had hiked their room prices in anticipation of the increased demand
The delays came as terrifying footage showed a flight to Majorca being rocked by severe turbulence , leaving passengers fearing for their lives. The footage showed the plane shaking violently as those on board clung to their seats
Areas of north-east Spain, as well as Majorca, were battered by 75mph winds and torrential rain over the weekend, resulting in hundreds of cancelled flights.
Some took to social media to express their frustration at being stranded in the island’s airport and at their travel agent Jet2 for not finding them a place to stay.
Speaking to MailOnline, British tourists said they were having to wait up to 36 hours for a flight back to the UK, and were forced to sleep on the floor of the airport – creating makeshift beds out of pool inflatables and suitcases.
Jules, a 45-year-old mother from Kent, said her family of four was travelling back to Standsted having been staying in Alcudia, found on Majorca’s northern coast.
They arrived at Palma airport at 9pm ahead of their 11.40pm flight on Sunday, and quickly realised something was wrong when they arrived to find people strewn across the floor of the airport. Despite this, they were told to check in their luggage.
‘You could tell something was up as there were people strewn everywhere,’ Jules said. ‘Nevertheless, we were ushered to check in which we did – there was no mention that our flight was delayed or cancelled at that point.’
However, she said, it later became ‘apparent checking in our bags was a mistake’ and it was only later that they realised the majority of the flights had been cancelled.
The family sought information from the travel agent company Jet2, but the mother said its staff had ‘very little information and suggested they were trying to find overnight accommodation.’ She suspects this was ‘a tale to appease the crowd’ as it soon became clear that no help was being provided.
Families were told to find their own hotels near the airport and to get a taxi there, with Jules saying Jet2 offered €150 compensation to do so.
‘However, there were no hotels in the vicinity, those in nearby resorts had cottoned on to the over demand and put up the price and in any case – you couldn’t get there if you did find one as the queue for taxi was 3 hours long,’ Jules said.
This led to a long night on the airport floor. Describing the scene in the airport, she said parents had to blow up pool inflatables or use beach towels to make temporary beds for themselves and their children.
Finally, she said, after ‘numerous ambiguous text messages from Jet2’ staff at the airport confirmed that an additional flight had been chartered for 12.30pm on Monday – over 12 hours after their original flight was scheduled to depart.
Jules posted a screenshot of a text message from Jet2 on Twitter. The message showed the company apologising ‘for the disruption to your flight’ that it says were cuased by the ‘adverse weather conditions.’
‘We have been working hard to find accommodation for you, but we have been unsuccessful, due to the situation there are no hotel rooms available at this time,’ the message says.
‘Our team at Palma airport are working to help make you as comfortable as possible and whilst we would like to provide you with overnight accommodation this is now impossible to arrange.’
Despite the long wait and a night spent on the floor, Jules said that she and her family had been the ‘lucky ones.’
‘Some passengers had been at the airport since yesterday [Sunday] morning with flights scheduled later this evening [Monday],’ she said.
Pictured: The departures board at Palma de Majorca airport is seen on Sunday night, with several flights showing either cancelled or delayed
Speaking to MailOnline, British tourists said they were having to wait up to 36 hours for a flight back to the UK, and were forced to sleep on the floor of the airport – creating makeshift beds out of pool inflatables and suitcases
Pictured: Tourists are seen waiting for news on their flights in Majorca
Pictured: A tourist is seen sleeping on the floor of the airport using a beach towel and cushions as a makeshift bed
Another passenger, who goes by the name of Rusko on Twitter, told MailOnline he was currently in the middle of a 36-hour wait for a flight back to the East Midlands, during which his five-year-old daughter had to sleep on a suitcase.
His family’s flight was scheduled to take off at 12.20pm on Sunday, and so they had arrived at the airport in Palma at 9am to give themselves plenty of time.
However, they were soon notified of a delay of 90 minutes, which was extended several times, with the last given departure time being at 2.30am on Monday before eventually being cancelled.
‘Upon immediately checking bags in, the airline notified us of a 1 hour and 30 minute delay,’ Rusko said. ‘Beyond this point the communication pretty much dried up with anyone from Jet2 saying they don’t know what’s going on.’
‘Our last given departure time of the day was around 2:30am – little did we know at this point the airport actually shuts down from midnight,’ he said.
‘As a result just after midnight, Jet2 told all passengers that the flight was cancelled and they were to source their own accommodation which would be reimbursed.
‘Naturally, at this time of day, it was pretty hopeless trying to find anything as other airlines had cancelled and organised accommodation far earlier in the day.’
He said that in the early hours of Monday morning, he was told his family’s flight had been rescheduled to 19.05pm – more than 30 hours after their first flight was originally scheduled to take off. Even this, he says, is not certain.
The huge delay, Rusko said, was ‘despite our plane being on the tarmac and us being told yesterday it was just waiting on crew to be rested.’
He also said other flights were taking off, while their remained grounded, with no explanation why others could fly while theirs could not.
Other passengers were ‘pleading’ with Jet2 to delay other passengers so they could get on a plane, he said, but the company refused. Rusko speculated that this was so the company could avoid having to pay further delay compensation.
‘Guests are feeling that the airline are doing everything possible to avoid accepting responsibility of situation and avoiding issuing compensation,’ he said.
‘For my family, we have a 5 year old girl who had to sleep on a suitcase last night, but there are other passengers who have babies or vulnerable family members and the airline is showing zero compassion or consideration for their well-being.
‘The communication has been incredibly bad and passengers are left to guess what is happening with no real hope of getting home anytime soon.’
MailOnline has contacted Jet2 for comment.
On Twitter, the company said it was ‘experiencing delays and disruption to flights to/from the Balearic Islands (Palma, Mahon and Ibiza) due to adverse weather.’
‘If you are affected by these delays we apologise for the inconvenience,’ it added.
‘If you are due to travel on one of the disrupted flights today we will be in contact as soon as possible with an update on your flight. For passengers that are delayed over night we are currently looking for accommodation.
‘If you are travelling on a flight that is affected and you can source your own accommodation, please do so, keep receipts and send them to hotel.refunds@Jet2.com where we will reimburse you for reasonable costs.’
What appears to be an item of clothing is seen hanging down from the luggage compartments in the footage posted by the Spanish acrobat showing the extreme turbulence
Meanwhile, a small number of people were injured during a ‘weather-related incident’ involving P&O Cruises Britannia ship moored in the Spanish island, while on the mainland people had to be rescued from their cars in floodwater.
Port authorities in the capital Palma said the ship collided with a petrol tanker because of high winds. The BBC said it broken free of its moorings in a storm.
Similarly terrifying scenes were unfolding in the air, Orts’s video shows.
In a lengthy post to her social media, the acrobat wrote that she was ‘BORN AGAIN’ after the experience on the plane, while also thanking the pilot for navigating what she said were ‘130km/h cross winds’ that prevented them from landing.
‘Now I am calmer… TODAY I WAS BORN AGAIN. I hope the pilot of the plane reads this: THANK YOU, thank you for what you did today, you didn’t have to apologise to us, the minutes felt like forever but in the end it was just a scare. It was the first time in my life that it has ever crossed my mind to think that THIS IS IT,’ she wrote.
The Spaniard explained that she was flying back to Majorca from Alicante having visited family there when the turbulence struck.
She said the flight was delayed due to the weather, but eventually departed.
When they took off, she wrote, she and her fellow passengers experienced some turbulence and that the take off felt ‘strange’ but normal.
‘I had already written to my family (who were a bit scared), because they had seen the storm on the news,’ Orts wrote. Soon, things got worse.
‘[Then] IT HAPPENED,’ she told her Instagram followers.The plane started to fall. People and children screaming, being sick, I couldn’t help crying. I don’t know how long that moment lasted but it felt eternal.’
‘Until the pilot managed to stabilise the plane, it was like a roller coaster. Nobody said anything over the loudspeaker about what was happening, even when it was stabilised,’ she recalled.
‘Some time passed and the pilot explained why he didn’t speak and it seems logical to me why: 130km/h CROSS WINDS.
‘We tried to land and we couldn’t, 2 laps around the island and it was impossible to descend, suddenly we stopped seeing the island and started to climb.
‘The pilot decided that the best option was to return to Alicante. 10:30am we took off 12:36pm we landed (Normally the flight lasts 40 min).’
After her message, Orts shared a video clip from inside the plane. The aircraft can be seen bouncing and rattling around, and passengers can be heard screaming.
One lady is seen clinging on to the seat in front of her while what appears to be an item of clothing is seen hanging down from the luggage compartments.
Despite the chaos, as the camera pans around, a young passenger sitting behind Orts can be seen grinning and laughing – seemingly un-phased by the turbulence.
According to the Majorca Daily Bulletin, Orts is currently back in Alicante waiting for a flight to Majorca on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, separate footage showed the P&O Cruises Britannia ship as it was buffeted by the heavy winds on Sunday.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed the incident.
‘P&O Cruises Britannia was involved in a weather-related incident while alongside in Palma de Majorca . A small number of individuals sustained minor injuries and are being cared for by the onboard medical centre,’ they said.
‘To allow our technical teams to make an assessment Britannia will remain alongside in Palma de Majorca tonight with onboard entertainment and activities scheduled.’
Britannia, which entered service in 2015, is 330 metres long and weights 143,000 tons, according to the company’s website. It has 13 guest decks and an operating capacity of 3,647 guests and 1,350 crew.
A ‘small number’ of people are also being treated for ‘minor injuries’ after a P&O cruise ship (pictured) broke free from moorings and collided with a freight vessel during the storm
News of those stranded in Majorca came after a British couple described how they had to run to for their lives with two children and a baby in a pram as 75mph winds and torrential rain battered Majorca over the weekend.
Jessica Gorman and her fiancé Scott, who got engaged the day before the terrifying storms ravaged the island, said that what had started off as a lovely family stroll to the old town market in Puerto Pollensa soon ‘turned to mayhem’.
Ms Gorman, who is from Reigate, Surrey, told MailOnline how she had to brave the hurricane-force winds with her three-month-old baby Ritchie, five-year-old son Roman and seven-year-old boy Piers because there were no taxis around.
‘We actually had to run as quick as we could for half an hour to our hotel,’ she said. ‘The roads were empty, there were no cars driving, it was like a ghost town. The kids were screaming and we were worried about the baby obviously being so young.
‘It was so windy, I felt like the the pram was moving side to side… it was horrendous.’
Holidaymakers also shared footage of tourists running for shelter as sun loungers were sent flying across swimming pools and beaches on the island which is usually associated with blistering heat and sunshine in August.
Severe warnings were issued across the holiday hotspots of Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera on Sunday as hotel resorts were left unrecognisable after being lashed by fierce winds, rain and hail.
Debris was seen flying through the air in Majorca forcing holidaymakers to run for cover on Sunday
The forceful storms hit the island at around 11am and within an hour, there were 84 incidents
Footage shared with MailOnline showed the how parts of the island were ripped apart by the winds
A woman sprints for cover as chairs behind her get picked up by the winds in Majorca on Sunday
Stunned holidaymakers have shared footage of tourists fleeing for shelter as sun loungers were sent flying into swimming pools by the fierce winds
Palm trees have come crashing down and flying debris has been launched across resorts, while motorists were also struggling to navigate through flooded roads and poor visibility.
The 112 emergency service in the Balearics reported 84 storm-related incidents within an hour on Sunday, Majorca Daily Bulletin reported.
The newspaper also reported that a pregnant woman in Calvia was taken to a health centre after being injured by a falling sign, while two children with a lilo in Illetes had to be rescued.
An amber alert was in place until midnight on Sunday across the whole of Majorca as heavy rain and hail were swept across the island by hurricane force winds.