Blood Tunisia
A blood stain after the Sousse massacre. Getty

British tourists returning to the UK following the massacre in Tunisia have been describing the attack and the horror that unfolded as families ran for their lives.

Thousand of British tourists are fleeing Tunisia after the massacre at the beach resort of Sousse which left dozens dead. Tour companies have arranged coaches and flights to get them back to the UK. Many want to leave Tunisia as swiftly as possible.

David Schofield arrived at Gatwick this morning. He told Sky News: "It was only a two-hour flight, but it has probably been the longest one I have ever done.

"It was very quiet and everybody, as soon as we saw London, it hit home and people started to get messages, and that is when it started to get more difficult."

Jeremy Moore, who also landed at Gatwick, told the BBC he was "pleased to get home". He said passengers on his plane were clapping and cheering as it took off and landed.

Meanwhile a number of Britons have issued pleas for information about relatives who have not made contact since the massacre.

Conor Fulford, from Tamworth in Staffordshire, said that his mother, Suzanne Fulford, was missing but he thought he had seen her in a TV news report lying on a stretcher.

"My sisters back home, they're convinced," he said. "But again that's not 100%. In this sort of situation you're just clutching at straws aren't you? I'm just trying to get on the internet and just trying to get people in and around the area to try… and find where she is."

One survivor told the BBC how her fiance Matthew James, a Welsh tourist, was shot three times when he used his body to shield her.

"He took a bullet for me," said Saera Wilson. "I owe him my life because he threw himself in front of me when the shooting started. It was the bravest thing I've ever known.

Thomson and First Choice have confirmed that the two hotels where the attacks took place – the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba and the Bellevue – were part of their holiday programme.

Tour operator Tui, the parent company of Thomson and First Choice, mounted a press conference this morning near Gatwick Airport.

Nick Longman, managing director of Thomson and First Choice in the UK and Ireland said: "We can confirm that a number of the fatalities are Thomson and First Choice customers."

He said that the companies were busy repatriating customers: "additional flights will be added today and tomorrow." He added that of the companies' 6,400 guests in Tunisia, 1,000 have so far returned or are in the process of returning. "Those who want to come home, we will be able to get them home by tomorrow," he said.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the massacre, in which a gunman disguised as a tourist opened fire on sunbathers at Port el Kantaoui on Sousse's outskirts. At least 38 are dead, with the majority British according to the Tunisian prime minister.

Anyone in the UK concerned about relatives in Tunisia can call the Foreign Office on 020 7008 0000. British nationals in Tunisia should make contact with the embassy there.