Birmingham & Black Country

Arthur Terry pupils stranded by coup bid leave Turkey

Pupils before the trip Image copyright Arthur Terry School
Image caption Arthur Terry School said the group was with seven "outstanding and experienced" staff members

Pupils and staff who were stranded at an airport in Turkey as a result of an attempted military coup are on a flight out of the country.

The 41 pupils and seven staff from Arthur Terry School, Sutton Coldfield, were kept "safe and well" and had consular support, the school said.

They were stuck at Istanbul Ataturk airport for more than 24 hours after landing during the coup attempt.

The group was expected in Cape Town to start a 10-day South Africa trip.

'Challenging' situation

They will be driven to an outward bound centre in Sedgefield on the Western Cape, to take part in community projects, working in two schools.

Headteachers, Neil Warner and Richard Gill, said the "students were delighted" to be continuing their trip and "have made us all very proud with how they have reacted to a challenging situation".

Richard Moore, British Ambassador to Turkey, said on Twitter a consular officer was with the group until about 02:30 BST on Sunday. He praised the children for their "patience and bravery" as well as their "amazing teachers".

Information about the South Africa trip said it would provide a "real insight into a totally different culture and way of life". The students had raised funds through events such as a fun run and raffle.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Explosions and gunfire were heard in Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere across the country

Flights at Ataturk airport were grounded during the coup attempt and parents of the pupils who had travelled with Turkish Airlines took to Twitter to say they were "petrified" and called for help from the airline, Foreign Office and media.

One worried mother wrote: "Help! Please get our children out of Ataturk airport".

The school was able to reassure parents their children were safe.

A statement later said: "It's great to know that many of you have had direct contact with your sons/daughters and know that they are safe, well cared for and in good spirits."

The Foreign Office, which initially advised British nationals in Turkey to stay indoors, said the situation "appears to be calming" and flights were returning to normal. It added people should remain vigilant.

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