Brave Escape from Rhodes Wildfires – British Family’s Harrowing Journey

A courageous woman has recounted the harrowing escape of her young family from the Rhodes wildfires, fleeing from the relentless flames for three days.

Chloe and Tommy Vincent embarked on their first family holiday with their three children – Rudy (6), Julen (4), and Willow (21 months) – only to be faced with an evacuation from their hotel, narrowly evading the advancing inferno.

Seeking refuge at the nearby beach, the family, accompanied by Chloe’s mother, father, and grandmother, struggled to breathe amidst the thick smoke, improvising wet towels and hats to shield themselves from smoke inhalation.

Fearful for their lives, the Vincents attribute their survival to the benevolence of the Greek locals who valiantly rescued them from the perilous situation.

“I genuinely believed that our lives were at risk,” 35-year-old Chloe, hailing from Preston, shared with NeedToKnow.co.uk.

“I feared we wouldn’t make it out alive.

“The experience was suffocating, but we had to appear calm for the sake of the children.

“We felt incredibly vulnerable and the trauma was profound.”

Arriving in Kiotari on 19th July, the Vincents had no inkling of the calamity that awaited them, with only some ash on the balcony hinting at the impending disaster.

Initially told that the fire was 50 km away, the situation quickly deteriorated, and by Friday, the flames were a mere 35 km from their location.

“The hotel seemed to be operating as usual, unaware of the looming danger, but I sensed that things were changing,” Chloe recounted.

“Upon my parents’ advice, we packed our belongings, gathered water, and headed to the beach.

“A mass exodus ensued, with people rushing from the hotel to the beach.

“People struggled with heavy luggage, children were frightened, and the panic was palpable as the flames drew nearer.”

Reaching Kiotari Beach, they were directed to the Kiotari Bay Watersports Centre, where fishing boats became vessels of safety, ferrying people away, while helicopters deployed water to combat the raging inferno.

British family escape Rhodes wildfires after running from flames for THREE days

“The smoke was so thick that it almost obscured the sun, making it difficult to breathe,” Chloe described.

“The children were covered with damp towels to protect them.

“The smoke clung to the water.”

Finding passage on a small boat without life jackets, Chloe was fraught with worry about her children’s safety.

With armbands and a swimming float, she did her best to secure them for the journey.

After 20 minutes, they reached Lardos Bay, but within two hours, the flames were closing in.

Seeking refuge on a coach bound for the evacuation centre in Faloraki, a kind lady named Sabrina offered her home as sanctuary for the distressed family.

On 24th July, a voicemail from TUI informed Chloe of a 2 pm departing flight from the airport, prompting the family to rush there, relieved to find a partially empty plane.

Grateful for their safe return to the UK, Chloe expressed the peril they had faced:

“Remaining on the island could have cost us our lives, and my grandmother was particularly vulnerable, struggling to breathe.

“It felt like the entire island was ablaze.

“If it weren’t for the selfless Greek locals, we might not have made it out.

“While their homeland was engulfed in flames, they returned to save us.

“We are indebted to them, and we must offer them aid as they are running short of food and water.

“They have rescued countless British nationals, and it’s our turn to assist them.”

In gratitude, Chloe and Tommy launched a Just Giving page, raising funds for the family and the watersports centre that came to their rescue in their dire time of need.

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