UK tourist on Rhodes wildfires: Sea turned black, sky orange, ‘like the end…’ | World News - Hindustan Times
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UK tourist on Rhodes wildfires: Sea turned black, sky orange, ‘like the end…’

Jul 24, 2023 08:44 AM IST

Greece Wildfire: “We noticed that the sea had started to become black with soot," the tourist said.

It felt like “the end of the world”, a British tourist who escaped the wildfires in Rhodes told Sky News as extreme heat triggered a number of blazes across the region. The countryside on the island has been burning for the past five days prompting the Greek government to evacuate 19,000 people- 16,000 by land and 3,000 by sea - marking the "largest ever" wildfire evacuation in country's history.

Greece Wildfire: Smoke rises from a wildfire on the island of Rhodes, Greece.(Reuters)
Greece Wildfire: Smoke rises from a wildfire on the island of Rhodes, Greece.(Reuters)

A number of locations on the east of the island have been evacuated, including three seaside resorts while around 2,000 tourists have been evacuated from Kiotari and Lardos on the island's south east coast. Jet2 has cancelled all of its flights saying, “We will fly those aircraft to Rhodes with no customers onboard, so that we can continue to bring customers back to the UK on their scheduled flights.” Tui has also cancelled its flights, while Thomas Cook says it will cancel and refund all holidays to the areas of Kiotari and Lardos.

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What did the British tourist say about Greece wildfires?

Ian Murison from London was staying in the Kiotari area of Rhodes when he noticed the dark clouds pass over his hotel. Two days later when he was having breakfast on the beach, he noticed the orange sky again.

Read more: Greece’s largest-ever evacuation as tourists flee Rhodes wildfires: Top points

“We noticed that the sea had started to become black with soot and actually people were coming out of the sea noticing ash was falling on to their heads. I can only describe it as almost a movie experience where everyone's looking into the sky as it got a very strange orange colour, and everybody was just looking around going, 'what's going on'”, he said.

His family then started packing their bags when an evacuation notice sounded.

“When we arrived, it was just a few hundred people - there were a couple of cafes and bars and they were serving beers and soft drinks, and everybody was just happy, thinking 'great, we've got away from the fire'. And then over the next few hours, the amount of people in that area just increased and increased, and then as light fell, people became increasingly anxious about how they were going to get out from this,” he said.

“It was literally like the end of the world. And the flames were now far more visible because of course it's night-time and we couldn't see that during the day. Suddenly there were leaping flames into the sky, and the sky was completely orange in the distance - so that sort of set about a level of panic,” he continued.

His family made it on to one of the small boats that were taking people to bigger vessels. “There were still hundreds of people, maybe a thousand people, on the beach when we left it, and the place was littered with suitcases because they were throwing them off the boats,” he said.

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