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Tourists describe 'chaos' in Egypt

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Holidaymakers returning to Britain from the "absolute chaos" in Egypt have described their "absolutely frightening" experience in the African country, after it fell victim to widespread protests and disorder that started last week.

One such traveller, David Lewis, from Manchester, was stranded in the Cairo airport for two days as demonstrators headed to the streets to protest against President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Lewis had headed to the Arab republic to visit his niece, Carol Lewis, but had to return to the UK sooner than expected.

His niece, who has been in Egypt for five months as a teacher, said that the nation had "changed overnight".

Both uncle and niece have described themselves as "really lucky" to get a ticket and "really pleased to be home" from the crisis in Egypt.

Mr Lewis said: "It did not take us long to realise it was not safe to be out on the streets. We were lying in bed at night hearing shots, looking out of the window seeing groups of men with sticks in their hands trying to protect their homes."

While travellers have been urged by the Foreign Office to avoid "non-essential" trips to Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Luxor, those without a "pressing need" to be in these areas have been advised to leave.

Tourists in Egypt currently, as well as those who had planned to visit the country, are expected to be checking their travel insurance policies to see what it covers.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has sent extra consular staff to Cairo airport as a number of British nationals try to flee the chaos-stricken capital.

Abta estimates that about one million British holidaymakers visit Egypt each year, with the vast majority of these based in resorts in the Red Sea area.

© Press Association 2011