'It's surreal... like a war zone' - Irish family on way home from Cape Town winter break end up stranded in Turkey
A winter break in Cape Town turned into a holiday from hell for an Irish family stranded in Turkey for five days by snow.
Advertising manager Paul Muldoon (41), his wife Ursula (42) and their sons Mark (8) and Adam (12), from Ashbourne, Co Meath, were hoping to get home today after being caught up in Turkey's worst snows in years.
They were among 16,000 Turkish Airlines passengers affected by snow storms which hit Turkey on Saturday.
Airline officials could not say if any other Irish passengers were affected.
The family found themselves in the city of Gaziantep - just 20km from war-torn Aleppo - after their flight was diverted.
The family was initially due to stay there until today but managed to get out and to Istanbul on Monday before the snow started falling again.
"To say it was a dodgy neighbourhood was an understatement," he said about Gaziantep. "News on the TV this afternoon was of police killing a suspected suicide bomber and another on the loose there."
Mr Muldoon added: "It's surreal. We went from 30C in Cape Town to extreme snow. We've moved from what looks like a war zone. But it has started to snow again and visibility is down to zero."
This evening Mr Muldoon and his family praised Turkish Airlines staff in Dublin whom they said went out of their way to make sure they got home as soon as possible.
The family arrived back home safely today and Mr Muldoon said he couldn’t be happier to be on home turf – even though it may soon be covered in snow here as well.
“So happy to be home on Irish soil this morning. However I believe that too is going to become white with snow just like Istanbul very shortly,” he said.