CHILDREN were left ‘vomiting and suffering from panic attacks’ after witnessing the horrific shooting of a life guard in a Mexican resort popular with Brit tourists.
The beach vendor opened fire on a lifeguard as terrified families fled the scene outside the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel, which is currently included in package deals sold on the Thomas Cook and TUI website.
According to local reports, a lifeguard was shot in the leg after a disagreement with a street vendor selling jewellery along the beach front on June 3.
Images show the man lying on the floor after the bullet hit him in the knee before being taken to Playa del Carmen hospital.
The shooter is still at large having reportedly fled the scene.
Terrified Brits who are staying at the hotel have taken sanctuary in their rooms with parents saying their children have been left traumatised following the shooting.
Lina Levine, who was staying at the resort after travelling to Mexico to marry her partner, says she was shocked by the hotels response to the incident.
She said: “We were staying at the hotel the day of the shooting, it was our last day as we were flying back to the UK the next day.
“We had our wedding there on May 29 and had booked it all through Thomas Cook.
“None of us personally saw the attack however my sister was in the reception area when one of the families came in to tell the receptionists they wanted to leave the resort, as he and his five kids had witnessed the attack.
“His kids had been having panic attacks and throwing up due to the incident and it seemed the staff didn’t quite understand what he was saying.
“I didn’t see a bigger presence of security and it made our last 24 hours an unnerving time as we have two young children and were with a big group of people who had come for our wedding.
“The hotel seem to brush it under the carpet and didn’t seem bothered by the incident.
“I am disappointed that none of the Thomas Cook staff approached their customers after the shooting to ask whether we were okay or needed further advise or help.
“It’s a disregard of their customers welfare and being.
“No precautions were taken after the shooting and within a couple of hours people were back at the pool and beach.”
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Darren Bundell, 41, heard shots ring out while he and his family were in the complex, metres from the beach.
Since then he and his wife Audrey, 45, and five-year-old daughter inside the complex until they return on Friday.
“It could easily happen again, it could happen at any time,” he told the Sun Online. “That bullet could have hit a child.”
Mr Bundell, who forked out £5,000 for the TUI package deal as they also operate in the area, has been horrified by the hotel’s response to the shooting.
“There’s been no change in security at all and they haven’t kept us updated. They’ve even stopped us from posting anything about the shooting on their Facebook page, saying it’s ‘too negative’.”
Richard McManus, who was there during the shooting, said: “Just arrived back in UK, happened as we were checking out. Everyone running from beach after hearing gun fire.
“Heard the Lifeguard was shot. We left the hotel quickly as armed police arrived at Hotel.
“Not even a targeted attack and anyone / child could have been hit if he’d missed his target.
“The lack of interest by reception when a load of people ran into Tulum lobby saying there [was] been a shooting was worrying.”
Another person asked: “Can Thomas Cook guarantee our safety when we go on holiday there in November?”
Others flooded TripAdvisor with concerns, with some explaining that people had been moved to different hotels by Thomas Cook.
One man wrote: “This must have been very traumatic, not just for the lifeguard but for the witnesses as well. I’m sure that a lot of people are rethinking their future vacation plans.”
Another said: “What is distressing is that its the family section of the beach, I’m sure any kids who witnessed it were traumatised.”
A guest who claims to be at the hotel slammed the way it was dealt with: “Just moved hotels from the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum.
“Lifeguard was shot in the leg on the resort beach 20 yards away from us….had to pick my 6 year old son up and run.
“Anyone travelling to this hotel please be aware of this incident.
“The hotel staff literally have brushed it under the carpet….all we got offered was a different room away from where the shooting happened.
“No security on the beach where it happened and the suspect got away through section of jungle next to beach where the shooting took place.
Thomas Cook, who don’t own the hotel but offer package holidays through the website, confirmed that concerned guests were moved to a different hotel or a different part of the Grand Bahi Principe.
Out of 978 rooms in the hotel, approximately 20 rooms asked to move.
A spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “We are aware of the incident near the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Hotel in Mexico on Sunday 2 June.
“While this was an isolated incident targeting an individual, the safety and security of our customers is paramount.
“Our resort team assisted the small number of customers who wanted to move to another hotel and the majority are continuing to enjoy their holiday as planned.”
A TUI spokesperson also told Sun Online Travel: “We are aware of an incident which occurred last weekend at the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Hotel in Mexico which is now a police matter.
“While no hotel guests were involved, we would like to reassure customers that safety is our number one priority and we have been working with the resort to ensure that security measures are in place. Our dedicated resort team is on hand to provide any support.”
Is Mexico safe for tourists?
Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased massively in recent years with murders now commonplace.
Morgues even closed down in the Mexican state of Guerrero after they were inundated with gangland victims.
Many fatalities are those killed in turf wars between the different gangs competing for trafficking routes into the US.
Cops are trying to protect tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Nuevo Vallarta.
The Foreign Office warns that while the government has made efforts to protect popular tourist destinations, including Playa del Carmen, there has been a number of shooting incidents in the areas.
They advise: “Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico and the security situation can pose a risk for foreigners.
“Since 2017 there have been a number of reported shooting incidents and other incidents of violence in the main tourist destinations, including in locations popular with tourists.
“In certain parts of Mexico you should take particular care to avoid being caught up in drug related violence between criminal groups.”
However, the FCO also says most tourist visits are “trouble-free”.
Last year, the US issued a warning for tourists heading to Cancun after escalating violence in the holiday hot-spot.
The UK Foreign Office also updated their advice after five people were killed after a nightclub shooting in Cancun earlier this year.
Sun Online Travel has contacted the Grand Bahia Principe Resort for comment.
in the first three months of 2018 more than 100 people were killed in Cancun alone.
In one 36-hour spell in April 2018 NINE PEOPLE were murdered.
On April 21, gunmen on water scooters shot at a beach vendor in Cancun’s hotel zone, though nobody was hurt.
The following month a beach vendor was killed in a double shooting on a Cancun beach by a gang on a speedboat.
And in August, eight bodies were found after a cartel murder spree – with two of the victims dismembered and found in separate plastic bags.
US authorities issued a “Level 2” advisory warning to travellers to “exercise increased caution”, adding “violent crime such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery is widespread”.
A State Department spokesman said: “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organisation assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred.”
Current Foreign Office advice says visitors should follow local advice and be vigilant, and tourists should take particular care not to be caught up in violence between criminal groups.
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