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‘We feared for our lives’

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By Zachary Hannay
Annan and Eskdale
‘We feared for our lives’

AN Annan family have spoken out about their frightening ordeal on holiday in Rhodes after the island was hit by wildfires during their stay.

Brian and Pamela Tait and their daughter Kayleigh, ten, arrived on the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands on Thursday July 20 to enjoy a two week summer break at the Lindos Imperial Resort and Spa near Kiotari in the south of the island.

Fires had already broken out prior to their arrival, but it was not until Saturday when things took a dramatic turn as the wind picked up.

The morning started off just the same as any other day, Brian said: “We were at the hotel and there was ash going about. We didn’t think much of it at first.

“I went to the pool bar and thought — there’s an awful lot of smoke in the sky. The helicopters were also going about but nobody seemed to be bothered.

“The waterslides went off and the next thing we got word that we had to go to the reception. Within about two minutes you had to go to the beach.

“You couldn’t stand still because of the smoke, you had to keep walking along the beach.

“Lifeguards ushered us onto this road. We walked for two and a half hours in temperatures of 35-40C. Thousands and thousands of people were walking along this road.”

SCARY SCENE . . . the fire rages

Locals had left out hosepipes out for those fleeing to cool themselves down and they also offered drinking water.

The family eventually reached another hotel, Brian said: “The manager told us to sit down, by this time there was about 2000 folk in the hotel. They really looked after us. We were there for about five hours.

“I went out the front and all you could see was this red glow.”

As the flames crept closer, the family got on a bus to another resort where they stayed overnight. They were then moved north again, this time to a school between Faliraki and Rhodes Old Town.

Still in their swimwear, without their passports and phones running out of battery, Brian managed to return back to their original hotel, as the fires had subsided, and retrieve their passports. He also managed to charge up his phone and get in contact with Annan Travel.

However, the family were unable to stay at their resort as everything continued to smoulder but new accommodation was found for them.

Having had some time to reflect, Brian admits it was a genuinely scary experience.

He said: “We feared for our life. Thousands and thousands of people were walking along this road. We just kept walking.

“The whole road was glowing orange. I wouldn’t like to go through it again. Every time you turned round all you could see was smoke and fire.

“It was a scary experience.”

The family would like thanks the Rhodes locals for the kindness and generosity and Annan Travel for their help.

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