Scottish toddler found alone on Tunisia beach after disappearing from kids’ club

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A two-year-old was found wandering alone on a beach in Tunisia after she disappeared from a hotel kids’ club.

A fellow holidaymaker rescued Ella Bryson, who was distressed and tearful.

Parents Billy and Claire Bryson say organisers hadn’t even realised she was missing.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” said mum Claire, 32, from Monifieth, Angus.

“The nightmares I’ve been having since have been terrible. This is something none of us should have had to deal with.”

The couple were on a fortnight’s Thomas Cook holiday with Ella and their other kids, Ruby, nine, and Billie, four.

They dropped Ella off at a kids’ club run by the Sahara Beach AquaPark Resort, near the city of Monastir.

About 20 minutes later, a fellow holidaymaker brought a distressed Ella back to Billy – having found her wandering alone on a nearby beach.

Billy, 30, said: “You always think about the worst that could happen.

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“Somebody could have grabbed her on the beach or she could have gone into the water and drowned. If somebody had picked her up, how were security going to know that she wasn’t just crying for her mum?”

Billy said after Ella was returned to him, he went to speak to a hotel rep who was running the club to express his anger about what had happened and to get answers.

“She was saying, ‘oh my God, I’m so sorry’. I said, ‘sorry? I could have never seen my daughter again – she’s two. You’re supposed to be the adult – how could you let my two-year-old daughter vanish?’

“When I went back to tell her that my daughter had been brought back to us, she wasn’t even aware that she was missing. She had no clue where my daughter was.”

Claire said: “When Billy brought Ella over to me, he was in such a state. Ella was red and still shaking.”

Two kids’ clubs operate at the resort. One is a Thomas Cook club and the other, at which Ella was dropped off, is run by the hotel.

The family complained to Thomas Cook about the incident, having booked their holiday with the firm. More than a month since the holiday, Billy said the experience is still affecting Ella, who recently turned three.

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He said: “Even now, if we go to Asda, she’s holding your hand as tight as she can or she’s climbing to get up or she’s wanting to sit in the trolley. Before she was never like that.”

The family met the guest who found Ella at a disco. Billy said: “We can’t thank her enough.”

In a post on social media directed at Thomas Cook, Claire strongly criticised the company – threatening the firm with legal action and vowing never to travel with it or go to the resort again.

Claire said: “What did Ella have to do? Be kidnapped or drown or something for them to take it seriously?”

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: “Customer safety is our first priority, so we were very concerned to hear of this incident and we understand how distressing it must have been.

“We are urgently investigating with the hotel to get to the bottom of what happened and make any changes needed.”

The Sahara Beach AquaPark was contacted for comment but had not respond.