Terrified parents described how 160 men allegedly tried to kidnap their children while on vacation in Turkey.
Couple Elaine and Phil said the incident happened in the early hours of May 16 when normal late-night socializing suddenly turned into “pure and utter panic”.
The couple flew to Turkey with their two children, aged 10 and 11, for a family vacation.
Speaking on RTE’s Liveline, Elaine said the family had a lovely time and stayed there for a week before things “suddenly changed”.
They had spent the day away from the hotel and when they came back they decided to go to the outdoor bar for a late night drink.
Elaine and Phil met two English couples they met the night before, reports the Irish mirror.
Elaine said she spoke to both of the couples’ fathers while her husband Phil chatted to the two mothers.
However, things suddenly took a turn when “two men literally came out of nowhere.”
Elaine explained, “Tall, tall men, well over six feet. They got in my face and yelled ‘shut up’. I said ‘excuse me?’ and they repeated ‘shut the f**k up’
“At that point I went to Phil because they were aggressive.”
Elaine said her husband Phil went to the men to ask if there was a problem, and that’s when “everything changed.”
She said: “The two men attacked Phil. It was absolutely horrific, the children were screaming.
“They basically grabbed Phil by each arm and threw him to the ground. The other two guys I spoke to, Dean and Mike, tried to help Phil.
“In the midst of it, I ran to get my children. Another man came out of nowhere and tried to pick up one of the other children who were there. He threw a towel over her head and ran.
“Phil screamed at the top of his lungs to get the kids back to the hotel. It was pure panic.”
Elaine said there was “so much panic” she doesn’t know how long they were out.
Her husband Phil managed to free himself from the men and the family ran towards the lobby but had to go through a turnstile.
“One of the men grabbed Phil and tried to pull him out through the turnstile.
“We went to the lobby and ran straight to the elevator.”
Two men followed the family into the elevator and “punched” Elaine and Phil “in the face” while trying to pull them out.
“Phil was pinned to the bars on either side of the elevator. He was being held and wouldn’t let go,” Elaine said.
“One of my kids, I don’t know how, she kicked one of the men and ran out of the elevator and grabbed her brother. The two ran to the toilet, which was next to the elevator.
“My son had my phone and they dialed 911.”
Elaine also managed to escape the elevator, but Phil was “sure they were behind him”.
He said on Liveline: “This went on, it felt like hours. Finally the police came in. As soon as she walked in, everyone’s demeanor changed.”
Phil was told to get off the elevator “face down and hands and arms outstretched”.
“The police never spoke to me. Something was pushed into the back of my mind,” he said.
“These two men (who attacked Phil) stood there with six police officers, discussed what had happened, looked at the CCTV footage and then left without making any arrests.
“I don’t know who these men were, but they knew the police.”
Phil said that after some time he was able to flee from the police and hid in a closet at the hotel for over an hour until he felt it was safe to come out.
He then ran to the family room, where luckily he found Elaine and his children.
Elaine said she didn’t know why the men attacked her at the time, but now she believes it was “to create a diversion so they could try to kidnap one of the kids.”
“It was the most harrowing experience we’ve ever had.”
Dean, one of the parents Elaine and Phil have been in contact with, is the father of the two-year-old girl who is said to have almost been kidnapped.
Dean also spoke on Liveline and said while the two men initially attacked Phil, he heard screams from behind and saw a third man “walk up to my two-year-old daughter who was sitting on a chair, put a towel over her and pick her up.”
“I was able to get away a bit and I heard the Turkish men screaming and they ran after me,” he said.
“I turned and ran around the corner and hid. Then I saw my eight-year-old son walking by crying his eyes out. So I grabbed him.”
Dean said that two German girls at the scene managed to snatch his daughter Evie away from the man and hide in a bush with her and Dean’s second son, five years old.
“I had never met her before. They told me they saw everything and someone tried to take my daughter so they took it alone and got my kids and hid them in a bush.”
Dean picked up his children and headed back into the room, thinking this would be the safest place.
Then he saw Elaine, Phil, and their two children fighting with two of the men in the elevator.
“I went over and tried to get her out.
“The Turk became aggressive and hit me with his right hand. I backed up and ran outside to the lobby with my family and we stood there with the German girls telling us everything that had happened.”
After some time, Dean and his family tried to go back into the room and ran to the elevator, which was now empty.
“As the doors were about to close, the Turkish men saw us and ran over again and tried to pull me out of the elevator while I was holding my two-year-old.
“They tried to get her again. I kept myself alone and stayed in this elevator. They managed to get off us and as the doors closed he stuck his hands in again and grabbed my daughter’s legs and tried to yank her out of my arms as the doors closed.
“We took him out, closed the doors and we went upstairs to the room.”
Phil said the incident was “like something out of Taken.”
He said: “It was like a made-up fantasy book or movie. It was reality.”
When asked by Dublin Live, the hotel in question denied that the incident took place.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/terrified-parents-say-6-foot-27057878 Terrified parents say 6-foot man tried to kidnap children while on holiday in Turkey