Rhodes wildfires resorts see kids scream and people fight like animals

British holidaymakers’ vacation hopes have been left in tatters on the Rhodes following the eruption of out-of-control wildfires. Those who managed to escape the disastrous flames on the popular Greek island have opened up about their terrifying ordeal, detailing how they had to flee for their life for three hours.

The wildfires have caused significant devastation, forcing 19,000 people to flee, and destroying popular coastal resorts.

Now a visit to Rhodes by the Mirror has encountered soot-covered abandoned luxury hotels lying alongside dozens of ash-covered luggage left behind by fleeing British holidaymakers.

While happy tourists headed home on aircraft, Greek villagers fought to preserve their island from further destruction.

The fire-ravaged southern half of the island yesterday now resembles a battle zone.

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The Mirror visited the once-luxurious Rodos Princess Hotel, located in the southeastern area of Kitari, which had its reception area melted and was in ruins. The abandoned flip-flops, prams, and armbands left behind revealed the guests’ hasty departure.

The atrium of the four-star hotel had fallen, and blown-out windows added to the spectacle of devastation. According to a hotel employee, the baggage left in the lobby belonged to Jet2 UK holidaymakers.

Disgusted British visitors who managed to return home on the same day described their harrowing experience of fleeing for their life.

Kim Gravenor, 51, and Martin Garbett, 52, of Louth, Lincolnshire, expressed their worry for their lives after what was supposed to be a simple day trip on a boat turned into a life-threatening tragedy.

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Martin told the Mirror: “We could see the smoke further down the coast but instead of dropping us off somewhere safe, the boat driver decided to take us straight through the smoke back to our hotel. I was gobsmacked,

“We could taste the smoke. Then there was this helicopter right next to us picking up water. I could see the pilot! He was looking at us as if to say ‘what an earth is that small boat doing out here?’.

“It was a massive helicopter and only about 100 yards away. It was terrifying. We were dropped off at a beach in the path of the fire.

“Once on the beach we were told to get walking quickly. There were thousands of people coming along the road. We could hear the crackling of the fire behind us. We were being chased by the fire. I really thought we could have died then.

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“We were running, everyone was running. It was absolutely the worst experience of my life.”

A newly-wed couple celebrating their honeymoon on Rhodes told how they were evacuated from the Village Rhodes Beach Resort near Lardos.

They escaped amid “intense” smoke and the sound of a child screaming: “I don’t want to die.”

Claire and Paul Jones, both 36 from Leicestershire, said the situation went from “zero to 100”.

People yesterday complained about a lack of information from travel companies, who’ve been drafting in extra staff.

A TUI UK&I Spokesperson said: “Our teams in Rhodes have been working tirelessly to support customers impacted by the wildfires in south-eastern parts of the island.

“We have reps in all evacuation centres and we’re aiming to get more people home from the affected areas as soon as we can…”

Jet2 also cancelled all flights to Rhodes yesterday, and released a statement which reads: “We have cancelled all flights and holidays that are due to depart to Rhodes today (five flights in total). We will be contacting affected customers to update them, and to let them know that they will be provided with a full refund and the opportunity to rebook.

“We will fly those five aircraft to Rhodes with no customers onboard so that we can bring customers back to the UK on their scheduled flight.”

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