Channel Tunnel Reopens After Scores of Migrants Break into Calais Terminal
Photo via Twitter/GroupEurotunnel
Channel Tunnel train service has resumed after a large group of migrants in Calais, France violently clashed with staff and police, tearing down fences to infiltrate Eurotunnel’s terminal and entering the tunnel, Reuters reported.
The incident began around midnight when about 200 migrants pulled down fencing to access the terminal, company and police sources told Reuters. French police then apprehended 120 migrants who managed to get into the tunnel itself.
Twenty-three were arrested and six were injured in the melee.
Eurotunnel spokesperson John Keefe described the group of migrants to the BBC as “very large, determined and organized,” and mentioned that staff were being shoved and stones thrown as the fences came down. With authorities overwhelmed by the "number and aggression" of the group, Keefe said to the BBC, train service was shut down.
"This is something new,” a police source said to Reuters, referring to the sudden violence of the migrants at Calais. “We have never been faced with something like that. Their determination and aggressiveness are growing."
In a statement, via Reuters, Eurotunnel said quite assertively that the incident was the migrants’ way of getting the public's attention, declaring, "Such a large group had no chance of reaching the U.K., so this was clearly an organized attack aimed at drawing media attention to the desperate situation of the migrants who are stuck in Calais."
Eurotunnel indicated, according to Reuters, that traffic levels were back to normal after “safety checks,” but passengers should expect delays of up to two hours for the rest of Saturday.
This isn’t the first time migrants have infiltrated the Channel Tunnel, with an incident also occurring in July. But in the ballooning crisis, rail service had been temporarily shut down between Denmark and Germany as well as between Germany, Austria and Hungary in September and border controls have been put in place as Europe figures out how to effectively handle this massive influx of humanity.
The good news for travelers on package tours is the minimal impact on itineraries. Tour operators in the region are saying transportation between destinations is really the only element being affected by the migrant crisis, and just in select areas.
Good morning, due to an intrusion on our French terminal by a large number of migrants, our service is temporarily suspended. 1/2 ^LD— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) October 3, 2015
Services unlikely to resume before 10:00 GMT. We strongly recommend that customers rearrange their travel. 2/2 ^LD— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) October 3, 2015
Our Passenger service is now resuming; delays can be expected; once we have a better picture, info will be published here. ^LD— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) October 3, 2015
Update: Our UK passenger service delay has now reduced to 30 mins. Our service from Calais still has a delay of 2 hours. ^ST— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) October 3, 2015
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