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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Tourist's 'miracle escape'
Crash site
Part of the Hotelissimo was destroyed in the crash
A British tourist injured in the Air France Concorde disaster has told how she leapt from a first-floor hotel window to escape as the plane crashed.

Alice Brooking, 21, from Kent, suffered just a burn to her arm in her escape from the Hotelissimo in Gonesse, which was partially destroyed when the doomed passenger jet crashed into it.

Alice Brooking
Alice: 'I didn't let the panic get to me'
Miss Brooking, who had only been at the hotel for 30 minutes, was speaking to her sister Natalie in London when she heard a huge explosion outside and the phone line went dead.

Speaking to the BBC's Newsbeat programme after her release from hospital, she said: "I went to my bedroom door, opened the door and there were flames everywhere, so I just rushed to the window.

"I looked out and saw the receptionist down beneath me in the carpark.

"He said, 'you have to jump'. For some reason, I didn't let the panic get to me and I just jumped.

"I ran barefoot across the fields, because I'd left my shoes in my room, then tried calling the attention of the car drivers, and then basically get myself away - that was my first concern.

"You couldn't actually even see the plane, all I saw was explosion and flames."

Family's wait

Miss Brooking only realised what had happened when drivers at the roadside told her that Concorde had crashed into the hotel. "I was thinking, 'Oh my God, how lucky was I'."

She added that if she had been in a different room she might not have made it out.

"Luckily, there weren't that many people in the hotel at the time, I know there were a lot of staff in there."


I just keep saying to myself over and over again: 'I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive'

Alice Brooking
"It's absolutely horrific," added Miss Brooking. "I didn't see anything to do with the plane.

"By the time I was out of the hotel, it was all in flames, and you couldn't see anything so I really didn't have anything bad or terrible to have to cope with.

"I just keep saying to myself over and over again: 'I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive'."

Alice's father Hugh described his family's anguish as they waited for news of Alice.

"We were frantic when Natalie phoned us to say the line had gone dead and then we started seeing what had happened on TV," he said.

Lost everything

"But Alice managed to call us a bit later to say she was okay.

"She had a miraculous escape but she is very shaken," he added.

Alice, a Cambridge University student reading modern languages including French, had been working as a tour guide for Club Europe and was at the hotel waiting for a group of English students from Suffolk.

Mr Brooking of Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent, said: "She was up all night and so were we, we couldn't sleep. We've all been watching the TV all night.

"She has lost everything she had with her, her luggage and everything but at least she is okay," he added.

Alice was discharged from hospital on Tuesday night after treatment and is staying with relatives in Paris.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jon Brain
"Alice Brooking...now plans to stay in Paris for a few days"
Alice Brooking
"It was absolutely horrific"
The BBC's Jim Smith
"Much closer to finding out what happened"
The Concorde Crash

Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

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