Janet Alexander feels Thomas Cook not doing enough to ensure their safety on a trip to Turkey.
A mother in Scotland, continues the Thomas Cook travel company after claiming her five-year-old daughter was “kidnapped” the hotel has a kids club in Turkey.
Janet Alexander, 46, claims that her daughter Rose was taken by a stranger during a family vacation to the country in April. The senior nurse from Inverness, says that her youngest daughter was taken during a kids club at the Royal Wings Hotel in Antalya, Turkey.
After taking her oldest daughter, Lois, 9, to a free scuba diving lesson, Alexander gave up an hour later to discover the Rose was missing.
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A frantic search for the child was then launched, and Alexander described the staff turn on a woman with a hijab and talk to her in Turkish.
It is believed that the ordeal came to an end 40 minutes later, when another guest of the hotel saw the blonde younger walking with a woman in a hijab in the vicinity of a main road within the grounds of the hotel.
Alexander claims that the hotel staff did not even know that the girl was gone, and when the staff not to answer questions, Alexander took her two daughters to the local police.
Janet Alexander had taken her other daughter Lois, 9, to a diving course and returned to find Rose, 5, is missing.
After a conversation with an on-duty interpreter, Alexander says that the police told her that she could not look into the matter if Rose was not physically damaged and had been returned safely.
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According to SWNS, the girl had walked away with the stranger, after she was invited to “go for a walk,” and he thought it was good when she remembered that go for outside walks in the pre-school.
The mother of two is now open about the experience that she calls the “most traumatic” of her life.
“I was completely distraught, completely,” Alexander said.
“There was chaos as everyone realized she was missing, and [everyone] began running around and people from the surroundings of the pool went to look for her.
“I was really totally frozen of fear. This is the most traumatic experience of my life,” she said.
“I thought that my daughter is dead or face being traded and abused.
“People need to realize this staff-led play groups are not the safe places we believe that they are. I will never trust Thomas Cook again.”
Alexander said that the trip to Turkey was the first foreign excursion she had made with her children.
Alexander is now suing Thomas Cook over the alleged incident.
The holiday, which took place in April of this year, was the first trip abroad for Alexander and her daughters. The family was three days into their week-long break when the incident happened.
Alexander, a nurse with NHS Highland, remains shocked by the incident and still not be able to return to work due to suffering from extreme anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
Alexander has voiced her anger at Thomas Cook, they are claiming that they still have to apologize for what happened.
“It doesn’t matter how much I process things it just leaves me in pieces. I’m shaking and in tears since it happened – I even struggle to leave the children at school now,” she said.
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In the aftermath of the incident, Alexander says that her family, friends, and neighbors are all really supportive. The Turkish police, including at least treated her.
“Although they couldn’t do anything, the Turkish police was very friendly and sympathetic,” Alexander said.
“But Thomas Cook is a shame — they have not apologized and have actually gone to great lengths to ignore me.
“What happened has changed our whole way of life, and even without the apology it is as if I can’t get closure and you don’t know how to heal.”
Alexander says the incident changed her “whole way of life.”
Alexander has now launched a civil claim Thomas Cook failed to respond to repeated calls for help during and after the incident.
She hopes that the outcome will lead to an improvement of the safety standards.
“I find it terrible that they would leave a family left behind in a foreign country and not make sure, not only that we were OK, but that the current users of the facilities are also good. Because it is, of course, I felt the other children, who use the club were in danger.”
Simon Richards, Associate with the Foreign Travel department at Digby Brown Solicitors, is pursuing the lawsuit, which can be worth a five-figure sum.
“Janet and her loved ones is understandable to feel traumatized by this incident,” said Richards. “Fortunately, Rose is safely reunited with her family, but her kidnapping was a very serious and lasting harmful effects.
“Royal Wings Hotel breached its contractual obligations by failing to look after the children in the playground, but Thomas Cook are ultimately responsible for the undertaking active in the vacation,” he added.
“The case is ongoing, so it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
A lawyer for the family said that they were involved, not only for their own well-being, but also the safety of children staying in the same hotel in the future.
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A spokesman for Thomas Cook said that the company is investigating the incident.
“We were very concerned to hear of this incident, and we understand how distressing it must have been,” said a Thomas Cook spokesperson.
“We will investigate thoroughly with the hotel to understand what happened and we work with the hotel to make the desired changes, so this can’t happen again.
“Our customer’s well-being in the contact with the customer, outside the legal procedure, and [is] providing support to Mrs. Alexander in any way they can help.”
SWNS has contacted the Royal Wings Hotel for a comment.