'Too fat to fly' Frenchman to take ferry to France

LONDON (AFP) - A clinically obese Frenchman who had been stranded in the United States was on Wednesday taken by ambulance to a British ferry port to continue his journey home.

Kevin Chenais, 22, who weighs 230kg due to a hormonal imbalance, was due to take a P and O ferry from Dover on the southeast coast of England to the French port of Calais, a French consular source said.

From northeastern France, he will be taken to his home town of Ferney-Voltaire on the Swiss border.

Mr Chenais had been treated for his condition in the specialist Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, but he was stranded in the United States after British Airways deemed him too heavy to fly.

Then the owners of the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner also refused to transport him across the Atlantic.

Mr Chenais, who requires frequent oxygen and regular care, finally flew into London's Heathrow airport with his parents aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight on Tuesday.

He described his journey as "terrible, terrible, terrible".

But once on British soil, his ordeal continued after the Eurostar under-sea train service refused to transport him to France, citing safety concerns.

Mr Chenais and his parents spent Tuesday night in a hotel near the Eurostar terminal at London's St Pancras railway station paid for by the train company, which said it had worked "ceaselessly to find an alternative solution".

With the help of French consular staff, Mr Chenais left London on Wednesday afternoon in an ambulance heading for Dover.