Egyptian bus crash hero tells of accident 'war zone'

PUBLISHED: 18:26 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 22:07 26 October 2009

Mr Palmer and his wife Sandra in hospital at Sharm-el-Sheikh. Picture courtesy of The Sun.

Mr Palmer and his wife Sandra in hospital at Sharm-el-Sheikh. Picture courtesy of The Sun.

A FORMER Hatfield businessman is being hailed a hero of the Egyptian bus crash that killed nine people.

Survivors say company boss Phillip Palmer risked his life to help save many of the 29 injured from the burning wreckage of the coach before it exploded

A FORMER Hatfield businessman is being hailed a hero of the Egyptian bus crash that killed nine people.

Survivors say company boss Phillip Palmer risked his life to help save many of the 29 injured from the burning wreckage of the coach before it exploded.

Mr Palmer, 42, survived the disaster with his wife and mum-of-three Sandra, 47, who remains in a Cairo hospital recovering from a broken leg and four broken ribs.

Now living in Arlesey, Beds, he owned Mecnov Products, a plastics injection moulding company making garden products in Fiddle Bridge Lane, Hatfield.

He told how he was travelling in the front of the coach when it rolled over on a desert road on Thursday morning as it travelled from the resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh to the Pyramids.

Talking from the hospital where he is staying at the bedside of his wife, Mr Palmer said: "As I carried one woman to safety the heat was grilling me.

"The coach was burning its whole length and all of a sudden it went boom.

"The driver had his toe down and it was as if he missed the bend. The tyres screeched, then we were tumbling and I though 'Oh God!'

"The bus filled with a sandstorm of grit. Everyone was screaming and glass smashed.

"It rolled over once or twice and bodies and luggage were thrown everywhere. It was like being in a cement mixer."

As the coach blazed the only escape was a 20ft drop down the wall of an old water channel.

Mr Palmer, who now lives in Arlesey, Beds, added: "I lowered Sandra as far as I could, that's when she broke her leg. I hung and dropped.

"As people jumped I heard bones breaking. One girl lay dead at the foot of the drop and I tried to help others down.

"I saw a Russian lady with a boy about 10 and helped carry her away. A Canadian girl had lost her arm so I ripped up a shirt and made a tourniquet.

"Other people could not get off the coach and were burned alive. It was like a war zone."

Sandra told reporters from her hospital bed: "Phillip was great. He helped the others and won't admit it, but he is a hero.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times