Grandfather spends 3 days lost on the M4 amidst winter chaos

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Car Rental News - 27/12/2010


A 72-year-old man had to be rescued by police after losing his way in the travel chaos.

A 72-year-old grandfather was rescued by police after he became lost while trying to find his way home from Gatwick airport. Mohammed Bellazrak dropped his wife off at the airport after her flight from Heathrow was diverted.

The man ended up driving more than 3,200kms over three days as heavy snow blocked many routes and he was unable to find his way home. It should have taken only about 2.5 hours to cover the 193kms to his home but Mr Bellazrak spent 66 hours at the wheel, driving to towns like Bracknell, Burnham and High Wycombe.

Mr Bellazrak and his wife left their home in Wiltshire for Heathrow. She was due to fly to Morocco to see her family. During the flight chaos, the flight was switched to Gatwick. CCTV video footage shows Mr Bellazrak leaving Gatwick airport at 8pm on Thursday.

Though Mr Bellazrak had taken cold weather supplies, he had left his mobile phone and diabetes medication at home. When he failed to return home, his family raised the alarm with police.

Thames Valley Police contacted other police forces but they were unable to find Mr Bellazrak. Finally, police used the automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR), which showed that Mr Bellazrak had driven through towns in counties like Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Mr Bellazrak said he had asked people for directions but nobody was able to help him. Finally, at 2pm on Christmas Day, the ANPR in a police car in Oxford spotted Mr Bellazrak’s number plate and he was rescued.

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