A GUNMAN opened fire on a beach lifeguard in a Mexican holiday spot which is popular with Brits — with terrified families forced to flee for their lives.
The shocking attack unfolded on a beach in Tulum outside the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel, which is currently included in package deals sold on the Thomas Cook website.
According to local reports, a lifeguard was shot in the leg after a disagreement with a street vendor selling jewellery along the beach front on June 3.
Images show the man lying on the floor after the bullet hit him in the knee before being taken to Playa del Carmen hospital.
The shooter is still at large having reportedly fled the scene.
Terrified Brits who are staying at the hotel have taken sanctuary in their rooms.
Twitter user Steph asked: “Good Morning, I’m just wondering if you can confirm the safety at Grand Bahia Principe resorts in Riviera Maya? I believe there’s been a shooting on the beach?
“I’m due to arrive This week, I been told @ThomasCookUK have moved guests.”
Richard McManus, who was there during the shooting, said: “Just arrived back in UK, happened as we were checking out. Everyone running from beach after hearing gun fire.
“Heard the Lifeguard was shot. We left the hotel quickly as armed police arrived at Hotel.
“Not even a targeted attack and anyone / child could have been hit if he’d missed his target.
“The lack of interest by reception when a load of people ran into Tulum lobby saying there [was] been a shooting was worrying.”
Another person asked: “Can Thomas Cook guarantee our safety when we go on holiday there in November?”
Just arrived back in UK, happened as we were checking out. Everyone running from beach after hearing gun fire. Heard the Lifeguard was shot. We left the hotel quickly as armed police arrived at Hotel.
Others flooded TripAdvisor with concerns, with some explaining that people had been moved to different hotels by Thomas Cook.
One man wrote: “This must have been very traumatic, not just for the lifeguard but for the witnesses as well. I’m sure that a lot of people are rethinking their future vacation plans.”
Another said: “What is distressing is that its the family section of the beach, I’m sure any kids who witnessed it were traumatised.”
A guest who claims to be at the hotel slammed the way it was dealt with: “Just moved hotels from the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum.
Lifeguard was shot in the leg on the resort beach 20 yards away from us….had to pick my 6 year old son up and run.
“Anyone travelling to this hotel please be aware of this incident.
“The hotel staff literally have brushed it under the carpet….all we got offered was a different room away from where the shooting happened.
“No security on the beach where it happened and the suspect got away through section of jungle next to beach where the shooting took place.
Thomas Cook, who don’t own the hotel but offer package holidays through the website, confirmed that concerned guests were moved to a different hotel or a different part of the Grand Bahi Principe.
Out of 978 rooms in the hotel, approximately 20 rooms asked to move.
A spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “We are aware of the incident near the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Hotel in Mexico on Sunday 2 June.
“While this was an isolated incident targeting an individual, the safety and security of our customers is paramount.
“Our resort team assisted the small number of customers who wanted to move to another hotel and the majority are continuing to enjoy their holiday as planned.”
Last year, the US issued a warning for tourists heading to Cancun after escalating violence in the holiday hot-spot.
The UK Foreign Office also updated their advice after five people were killed after a nightclub shooting in Cancun earlier this year.
Sun Online Travel has contacted the Grand Bahia Principe Resort for comment.
in the first three months of 2018 more than 100 people were killed in Cancun alone.
In one 36-hour spell in April 2018 NINE PEOPLE were murdered.
On April 21, gunmen on water scooters shot at a beach vendor in Cancun’s hotel zone, though nobody was hurt.
The following month a beach vendor was killed in a double shooting on a Cancun beach by a gang on a speedboat.
And in August, eight bodies were found after a cartel murder spree – with two of the victims dismembered and found in separate plastic bags.
US authorities issued a “Level 2” advisory warning to travellers to “exercise increased caution”, adding “violent crime such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery is widespread”.
A State Department spokesman said: “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organisation assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred.”
Current Foreign Office advice says visitors should follow local advice and be vigilant, and tourists should take particular care not to be caught up in violence between criminal groups.