County News: Sussex footballer stranded in Egypt after Russian airliner crash

Kevin Keehan

Kevin Keehan

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A footballer, who has played for several clubs across Sussex, has spoken today of his ordeal after being stuck in Egypt with his girlfriend after all aircraft were grounded following the Russian airliner crash that killed 224 people.

Kevin Keehan, 29, and his girlfriend Kerry Redfern, 33, found themselves stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh after booking a last minute holiday following the tragic loss of their baby son.

Kevin currently plays for Horsham but has turned put for a variety of county clubs in previous seasons.

“We were in mourning and just needed to get away,” said Kevin. “We booked the holiday and then my dad rang me on the Saturday and said ‘you know a plane went down in Egypt’, but we didn’t think much about it. We just thought it must have been a technical fault.

“There was no extra security at the airport or anything. We were enjoying the sun in Egypt and having a good holiday when we heard that it might have been a bomb that caused the plane crash. There was just all this confusion at the hotel.”

All flights out of the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh were halted and holidaymakers were left stranded.

“At one point we were told that we wouldn’t be going home until the 12th of November,” said Kevin, but luckily Kevin and Kerry, who were travelling with Thomson, were delayed by just two days.

“Thomson were so good,” said Kevin. They kept us up to speed with what was going on and the rep at the hotel, bless him, was working his socks off.”

The couple were relieved when they were eventually booked on a flight home on Monday. “We were relatively lucky,” he said. “I had to get back for my son and for work.”

The flight home proved traumatic for Kevin, a self-employed property developer. “There was a lot of turbulence and I thought ‘Oh God, what’s happening’. It was a choppy flight all the way. I couldn’t relax really.”

But he said his partner Kerry, a flight attendant with Virgin, took it in her stride. “She didn’t want to whole thing to spoil our holiday because of what we had been through previously,” said Kevin.

The couple, who have just moved into a new home in Hove, lost their baby son - whom they named Rocky “because he was a little fighter” - when Kerry was just 16 weeks pregnant.

Kevin is due to play for Horsham Football Club in a match against Newhaven this Saturday.

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