An English father of four recounts the hell his family escaped from Rhodes hell in the middle of the night.
Gym teacher Daniel Jones had to dive deep to the neck of the ocean to get his young family on a tour boat. Escape from the flames that have followed them.
Daniel, 37, was on vacation with his wife, Hannah, 35, and their four children, Ethel, 2, Oliver, 5, Albert, 7, and Rupert, 9, before evacuating the luxury hotel at 10 p.m. Saturday night.
“We arrived in Rhodes on Friday night, so Saturday was our first day by the pool,” Daniel told The Sun newspaper.
“At about 12:00 pm, I looked up at the sky and the sun had disappeared, leaving long trails of smoke for miles.
“The whole hotel ended up in smoke and the hillside glowed orange. It was really creepy.”
Daniel said hundreds of other vacationers had fled other resorts on the island and arrived at the hotel later that day.
“It was chaos and the lobby looked like this.” Heathrow Airport airport. We got ready to leave and packed, but there was no communication from the tour operator on what we should do.
“Eventually an evacuation alarm went off in the hotel and the manager said we all had to leave on foot.
“We just followed the crowd, dragging our luggage and my wife pushing the stroller into the night. The kids were exhausted, distraught, crying, feeling hysterical and panicky.
“At one point, a TUI representative told us to wait for six coaches to pick us up, but nothing came. It was the hotel manager who told us to keep walking for safety.
“Eventually, I met two Red Cross men who told me to go to the beach.”
Daniel said 400 people were stranded on the pitch-black beach.
It was a nightmare, our vacation was ruined and our children were traumatized
“There was still a lot of confusion and madness. There was no one in charge or anyone to tell us what was going on.
“There were moments when I could clearly see the flames approaching, but there was no boat to escape from, so I felt completely helpless to protect my family.”
Daniel said some locals eventually brought two pleasure cruisers to the beach and started taking people on board.
“We were the last to leave, so I had to walk through the water with the kids. I was up to my neck and had to help them climb ladders,” he recalls.
“The kids were crying and soaking wet in their pajamas. It was horrible, scary and heartbreaking to watch.”
Daniel said they sat in the boat offshore for an hour and a half while the captain considered where to take everyone.
Eventually they were taken to the island’s north coast before being placed in a minibus and taken to a local school along with dozens of other families.
“The locals were great, they gave me food and drink, but now I just want to go home. The whole experience is pretty traumatic, especially for children.”
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Daniel and hundreds of other Britons are trying to arrange transport back to Britain.
He added: “It was a nightmare. Our vacation was ruined and our children were traumatized.
“TUI is discussing taking us to a hotel, but after something like this happens, the kids don’t want to go back to the hotel. We want to go home.”
As fires rage on the popular island, up to 30,000 locals and tourists, including many Britons, have been evacuated in Greece’s largest evacuation in history.
More than 200 firefighters, helicopters with water bombers and emergency rescue teams are battling the worst fires the country has ever seen.
Fires in the mountains on Tuesday have engulfed much of the island, burning down buildings and hotels and reaching some coasts.
An anomalous scene depicts tourists and locals carrying luggage and children in a queue on foot, traversing dusty roads.
Buses of fleeing Britons were taken to makeshift camps in gyms, schools and hotel conference centers, where they performed on the floor all night.
British Embassy officials in Athens urged Britons to leave the area on Saturday evening as flights to Rhodes continue to be cancelled.
Horror video leaked showing crowds of people with young children in despair Waiting to be loaded onto the boat in the pitch black fire in the background.
Another British tourist evacuated by the fire said it felt like “the end of the world”.
London resident Ian Morrison was in the Kiotari area when he saw the sea “black with soot” and ash raining down on people.
After walking miles and eventually hitchhiking to Gennady Beach, he said: sky news: “In the next few hours, the number of people in the area increased more and more.
“And as the light poured in, people became more and more anxious about how to get out of this situation.
“It was like the end of the world, literally,” he said, as the flames threatened to haunt him.
The island has been on fire for nearly a week. Greece A long period of intense heat has made it difficult to extinguish the fires.
And today, even fiercer winds are blowing across the island, flames are blazing, and the fighting is expected to get even worse.
Fire department spokesman Vassilis Vatrakoyanis said: “Winds are expected to intensify between 12pm and 5pm, but this does not rule out the possibility of it occurring earlier.”
“This is not a fire that will end tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” he added. “It’s going to haunt us for days.”
Firefighters fought on Sunday on three fronts with support from aircraft water bombers and reinforcements from Slovakia.
They are setting up firebreaks to prevent the blaze from spreading through dense forests and threatening more residential areas.
Helen Tonks, a mother of three from Manchester, flew to Rhodes with her three daughters and husband on Saturday night before a two-week sunny holiday.
She told The Sun newspaper: “There was no communication at all.
“They put us in a carriage and took us to a school in Old Rhodes, where there are hundreds of us.
“Dozens of people are sleeping on mattresses on basketball courts in gymnasiums.”
jet 2 has now canceled all flights and holidays scheduled to depart to Rhodes today, but has promised to continue operating regular flights from the island.
Tui also canceled all flights and holidays to Rhodes until Tuesday, July 25.
Earlier this month, the country experienced another “insidious and dangerous” hot wind, with temperatures soaring to 40 degrees Celsius.
Weather experts have declared 2023 to be the year of El Niño. El Niño is a natural phenomenon that occurs periodically and causes variations in the Earth’s climate.
The United Nations World Meteorological Organization said temperatures around the world are rising and the effects are likely to continue for the rest of the year.
And despite this summer’s heat, Europe’s highest temperature of 48.8°C recorded in Sicily, Sardinia, in 2021 has yet to be reached and is currently not on the verge of breaking.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/23146191/family-four-kids-running-for-lives-rhodes-fires-escape/ My family of four children fled for their lives from the Rhodes wildfires. We escaped by walking in water up to our necks.