Eurotunnel passengers were stranded under the sea between England and France

What began as an ordinary train ride under the English Channel turned into pure claustrophobia nightmare fuel on Tuesday when a train stopped and passengers were left stranded for hours in a narrow concrete tube below the seabed.

Alarms went off on the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service from Calais in northern France to Folkestone in southern England at around 3.50pm, bringing the train to a halt. As the cause of the incident was investigated, passengers were asked to evacuate the train carriages and go down an emergency service tunnel.

Surreal videos of the incident shared on social media showed travelers carrying luggage and pets along the 24-mile tunnel. The holidaymakers had to walk down the concrete shaft for around 10 minutes to get in front of the stricken train and meet a replacement vehicle. Passengers then faced an hour-long wait for the new train to arrive.

“The service tunnel was terrifying,” said traveler Sarah Fellows The times. “It was like a disaster movie. You just walked into the abyss without knowing what happened. We all had to stay under the sea in this big queue. There was a woman crying in the tunnel, another woman having a panic attack traveling alone.”

Despite the alarms, Le Shuttle said the train had not broken down, despite the evacuation. “The shuttle was brought to a controlled stop and inspected,” a spokesperson said. “As a precaution, for their safety and comfort, we transferred the passengers on board to another shuttle, via the service tunnel (which is there for that very purpose).

“We brought them to the passenger terminal building, where food and drinks were available, then slowly brought the original shuttle out and reunited them with their vehicles.”

The Channel Tunnel is shared by two main passenger services connecting the UK with Europe – Eurostar and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Passengers using the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle enter the underground trains in their own cars or on buses, while foot passengers take Eurostar.

The tunnel itself, which has the longest underwater section (23.5 miles) of any tunnel on the planet, has been the scene of much more dramatic disasters in recent times. Most notably, the tunnel’s full services were interrupted for six months after a fire in 1996, and several people were hospitalized with smoke inhalation during another fire in the tunnel in 2008.

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