Schoolchildren stranded on US ski trip after hotel ‘shredded 44 passports’ by mistake

UK schoolchildren have been stranded in the US after the Kancamagus Lodge Hotel destroyed their passports (Google Maps)
UK schoolchildren have been stranded in the US after the Kancamagus Lodge Hotel destroyed their passports (Google Maps)

Children from a UK school have been stranded in the US after a ski trip because their hotel accidentally shredded their passports.

Pupils at Barr Beacon School, in Walsall, were meant to fly home from Boston on Saturday after their skiing holiday but they missed their flight back after the mistake.

Teachers couldn’t believe it when the Kancamagus Lodge Hotel in New Hampshire where the group had been staying said they had accidentally destroyed 44 passports.

The group has been forced to go to the British Embassy in New York to obtain emergency travel documents, delaying their journey home by four days.

Parents of the children who have been stranded were left shocked, with one saying they “couldn’t believe their eyes” when they read a message informing them about the passports.

The school’s headteacher, Katie Hibbs, has praised the teachers who are currently managing the situation in America.

She told the Express & Star: “We have a group of pupils and staff currently in New York after spending a week skiing in Boston.

“Unfortunately, the hotel managed to destroy the passports in their care, which has led to all those affected having to apply for Emergency Travel Documents. 

“The group are at the British Embassy in New York today to finalise all of the documents before they fly home on Tuesday, four days later than planned.

“Although this has been a fraught time for all involved, the pupils have remained positive and my staff on the ground in the USA have worked around the clock to ensure that the pupils are all safe and returned home as soon as possible.   I must also thank the parents who have all been very supportive.

“I’m looking forward to receiving all of the party back very soon.”

A parent, who didn’t want to be named, told the Express & Star they couldn’t understand how the mistake happened.

They added that they would be “asking the hotel or school” to pay for a replacement passport and expressed their concern at having to wait “weeks” to get one in the first place.

It is not clear exactly how the hotel destroyed the passports or how the mistake was made.

Lincoln Police, the local force in the area, confirmed they attended the hotel but could not comment further.

No one can fly out of the US without a passport and it costs upwards of £150 for the British Embassy to issue an emergency travel document.

A total of 42 schoolchildren and four staff flew out on the trip to the White Mountains of New England on 17 February and they were due to return on 25 February.

According to the Post Office, it takes an average of three weeks to get a new passport if you apply using the standard form.

However, wait times can rise to six weeks or more during peak times, especially during the busy summer months.

The Independent has contacted the Kancamagus Lodge Hotel for comment.