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Sham el-Sheikh stranded Glenavon player Bradley finally flies home but thousands are still stuck in Egypt

By Laura Abernethy and PA

Published 09/11/2015

Tourists at Sharm el Sheikh airport
Tourists at Sharm el Sheikh airport
Glenavon footballer Eoin Bradley
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

A Glenavon footballer was one of thousands of holidaymakers who finally made it home from Egypt after airlines laid on more rescue flights.

Striker Eoin Bradley and his family were due to head home on Thursday, but all flights were suspended after the Russian jet crash that killed 224.

He finally arrived back in Northern Ireland yesterday morning after three days stranded in Sham el-Sheikh.

The 32-year-old, who had flown out for a week at a four-star resort with his son Cathir (10), daughter Cara (5) and his partner, Emma O'Neill, was due to return on a Friday rescue flight but it was suspended and he missed Glenavon's Irish League match against Ballinamallard on Saturday as a result.

"Our flight on Saturday was at half-six and we arrived in Luton around midnight. We got a few hours' sleep, then were home this morning. It's so good to finally be home," he said.

"There are still people stuck out there and they might not get to leave until the middle of the week, so I'm so glad we managed to get a flight."

Eoin, who because of a security clampdown was restricted to flying with just a plastic bag, added: "The atmosphere on the plane was good when it took off and when we landed, there was a lot of cheering. The flights were probably safer than they ever have been because of all the extra checks."

Almost 2,000 British tourists were brought back to the UK from Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday aboard eight flights, government officials said.

The repatriations mean 5,300 holidaymakers have returned home since flights from the Red Sea resort recommenced on Friday.

Thousands more are still stranded in the Egyptian holiday resort and Government officials warned it is likely the increased safety measures mean many will have to stay in the country for a while longer.

Egyptian investigators have reportedly said they are 90% sure a noise picked up by the cockpit voice recorder was the sound of an explosion caused by a bomb.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said airport security in many cities will need to be overhauled if it is confirmed the crash was caused by a bomb.

"If this turns out to be a device planted by an Isil operative or by somebody inspired by Isil then clearly we will have to look again at the level of security we expect to see in airports in areas where Isil is active," he said.

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