French backpackers (from left) Martin Vercampt, Sullivan Gaume and Remi Dussetier took shelter from Cyclone Marcia at the Arcade carpark on Bolsover St, Rockhampton Photo Guy Williams / Morning Bulletin
French backpackers (from left) Martin Vercampt, Sullivan Gaume and Remi Dussetier took shelter from Cyclone Marcia at the Arcade carpark on Bolsover St, Rockhampton Photo Guy Williams / Morning Bulletin Guy Williams

French backpackers ride out Cyclone Marcia at Maccas

THREE French backpackers have taken refuge from Tropical Cyclone Marcia inside a fast food restaurant, after parking their car undercover in the drive-thru and sliding the window open.

After notifying police and while sirens blared, the trio spent 90 minutes inside the restaurant eating tuna and bread as the Category 3 tropical cyclone ripped through Rockhampton yesterday.

As Cyclone Marcia struck, the phone rings and Frenchman Martin Vercampt picks it up.

On one end is a Rockhampton youngster phoning in to say he can't make it in this afternoon.

Sitting inside a fast food restaurant with his travelling pals Sullivan Gaume and Remi Dussetier, Martin is on the other.

"Someone called the fast food (restaurant) to say that he wasn't able to work this afternoon," Martin said.

"So it was really funny because I was just a French backpacker in a fast food (restaurant) taking refuge because of the weather and someone called me to say they were not able to work.

"I just told him I wasn't someone of the staff, just a French guy."

Martin, Sullivan and Remi were yesterday stuck in Rockhampton, partway through a journey around Australia.

The trio hail from the small French city of Annemasse.

Martin told The Morning Bulletin how the Frenchmen came to be taking refuge in the Kern Arcade car park.

"We were driving from Benaraby and when we saw that the weather was like that we decided to go into Rockhampton to find a place to refuge," he said.

"When we arrived in the city all the shops, the motels, the fuel stations, everything was closed so we decided to go under the rooftop of the drive-thru of a famous fast food (restaurant).

"When we saw that the weather was totally crazy we decided to open the window and it was not very well closed to so it was easy to enter the fast food.

"We finally stayed in the fast food during one hour and a half, just the time to let the cyclone gone and there was alarms ringing everywhere.

"I called the police to let them know about this situation. We left a note to say thank you to the fast food (restaurant).

"After this we decided to go to the police station to let them know about the story and to make sure there is no problem about the fact we entered into the fast food (restaurant) in an illegal way, and finally they told us to go into this carpark to take refuge and that's all."

Martin said he took two calls while in the restaurant, but the first was short-lived as he couldn't understand what the person was saying on the other end.


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