Ferry: P&O Steps In To Transfer Overweight Passenger
20 November 2013, 17:26
A morbidly obese Frenchman left stranded in Britain after being stopped from boarding a Eurostar train for safety reasons is due to finally return home.
P&O Ferries said it would transport Kevin Chenais, 22, across the English Channel on its Spirit of Britain vessel after Eurostar said he posed a safety risk.
The saga of Mr Chenais, who reportedly weighs more than 30 stone, began when he was left stranded in America after British Airways refused to carry him on his return ticket.
In the end, Virgin Atlantic flew him into London.
But Mr Chenais, who uses a mobility scooter, then encountered more difficulties when trying to reach France from London when Eurostar declined to transport him.
It said it had to operate under "very strict safety rules'' and that Mr Chenais' immobility meant he posed a safety risk ``to himself, our crew and all of the other passengers on board''.
Eurostar said: "Despite being unable to travel with us yesterday due to the very strict safety regulations governing evacuation from the Channel Tunnel in the event of an emergency, we have nonetheless worked tirelessly over the past 24 hours to identify an alternative solution.
"Having arranged overnight accommodation in central London for Mr Chenais and his family, we contacted P&O last night to request their assistance arranging passage across the Channel.''
Eurostar said it has paid for the family to be driven to Dover in a special ambulance, and they are expected to board P&O's Spirit of Britain later.
A P&O Ferries spokesman said: "We're delighted to help. It's not difficult for us. We are used to carrying ambulances across the Channel, so we are set up for this type of thing.
"It's difficult to imagine the frustration that this gentleman has gone through. But for us, it's very straight-forward as we are set up to carry people who have medical needs.''
From Calais, Mr Chenais and his family will continue their journey in the ambulance to their home in south-eastern France.
According to reports, Mr Chenais - who needs regular care - had been in the United States for treatment for a hormone imbalance.
A British Airways statement said: "We will always try to accommodate someone if it's possible and safe to do so.
"Our customer service team worked diligently to find a solution and have exhausted all options.
"Unfortunately it was not possible to safely accommodate the customer and the family has been offered a full refund.
"The British Airways team has been in regular contact with the family, providing guidance and support as well as exploring other options for travel.
"We have also provided hotel accommodation.''