‘It was like a scene from Jaws’ – Letchworth couple’s holiday horror as propeller of Turkish tour guide’s speedboat slices fisherman to pieces

Letchworth couple Lois Reid and Sharly Thomas on the boat minutes before the horrific accident.

Letchworth couple Lois Reid and Sharly Thomas on the boat minutes before the horrific accident. - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth couple on a snorkel trip in Turkey watched in horror as a spear fisherman was ‘sliced to pieces’ by the propeller of their tour guide’s speedboat.

Lois Reid and Sharly Thomas, both 24, were almost thrown overboard as the boat smashed into the man off Kusadasi on the Aegean coast.

And they have both been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the tragedy, which Lois told the Comet was ‘like a scene from Jaws’.

“We’d hired a private snorkelling trip from the resort, Pine Bay, for £60,” said Lois, who is a rifle range officer at A Different Calibre in Dunhams Lane.

“On the way back he was speeding and always on his phone. I kept looking at Sharly and wanted to ask him to slow down, but I expected he knew what he was doing.

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“There was a banana boat and I thought we were going to collide with them – he moved closer in, away from them, and that’s when it happened.

“A head just appeared in front of us. It was like a speed bump and the boat went out of control, I thought we might flip out.

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“Then the boat stopped and there was blood everywhere. The engine had sliced him up, it was like a shark attack in the water.”

Lois and her fiancée Sharly, who works in IT, screamed and cried while the guide swore, shouted into his phone and deposited them back onshore.

“No-one from the hotel or Thomas Cook came to see or ask if we were OK so we went back to our rooms,” said Lois.

“Four hours later we were taken to a police station. We were on a bench with 30 Syrian refugees just pulled from the water, sat there for an hour crying for our Thomas Cook rep. We were petrified.”

The couple have accused the hotel of trying to hush up the incident, and also claimed their Thomas Cook rep told them to ‘have a drink and enjoy the rest of the holiday’.

“When we got back the watersports were back on,” said Lois.

“No-one from Thomas Cook or the hotel asked if we needed anything or medical help or even how we felt, and we were just crying hysterically. We came home the next day and heard nothing from anyone.”

Both Lois and Sharly have signed off work since returning on October 1 – with Lois’ PTSD diagnosis barring her from work on the range for safety reasons.

“A lot of people have told us we wouldn’t have been diagnosed with PTSD if we’d been dealt with correctly,” said Lois.

“The doctors are saying I should be signed off even longer.

“Thomas Cook have not even offered to help with that. Sick pay doesn’t even cover weekly rent, but they don’t seem to care.

“Sleeping is getting a bit easier now. The doctor gave me tablets but I didn’t take them at first – I didn’t want to sleep because of the nightmares.”

She said Thomas Cook had been in touch offering specialist counselling and £200 towards another holiday – “but for obvious reasons we won’t use that or go on holiday anytime soon.”

The couple have been told they might have to give evidence in a Turkish court.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear Ms Reid and Ms Thomas witnessed such a tragic event on holiday.

“As soon as we became aware, our representative at the hotel offered support and assistance.

“Our customer care team has been in touch to offer access to professional counselling.”

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