Welsh tourists describe a chaotic escape from the Rhodes fires

a hotel in Rhodes that has burned down

On the Greek island of Rhodes, where wildfires forced the closure of hotels in the south, vacationers from Wales encountered chaotic scenes.

One family related how they slept on a hotel floor, while another explained how they escaped as the flames got closer.

The largest evacuation effort ever in Greece has been necessitated by fires and involved 19,000 people.

One family from South Wales is scheduled to fly home tomorrow on an EasyJet repatriation flight.

At Rhodes airport on Saturday night, Caryn Savazzi of Llysworney, Vale of Glamorgan, said she, her husband, and their two children arrived to "absolute chaos.".

"We waited in line with the kids for two hours," she remarked. Many people experienced great anxiety when they learned that their hotel had closed and they had no other options. ".

They were eventually taken to a stadium in Rhodes, according to Ms. Savazzi, but as they were getting ready to sleep on the floor of a school hall at around 3 a.m. local time, a local family offered to house them.

We have been staying with them ever since they drove us to their house and set up a sofa bed, according to the woman. "It has been truly amazing.

Photo of Caryn Savazzi and her son
Caryn Savazzi and her son at the start of their vacation in Cardiff Airport, before the drama.

We've only been lucky to have a better experience than the horror of others, she said. She was able to secure a flight for Tuesday to Bristol for her family.

Less fortunate were 52-year-old Lowri Jones from Crymych, Pembrokeshire, and her 13-year-old daughter Ella.

When they got to the airport in Rhodes, they discovered that their hotel in the south of the island had been impacted.

Really horrible, the last 24 hours, Ms. Jones said. She and her daughter were relocated to another hotel in the island's north, but they were forced to spend the night on the floor due to a lack of rooms.

Caryn Savazzi took a photo of the crowds of stranded tourists as they arrived into Rhodes
As they arrived in Rhodes, large groups of stranded tourists were captured by Caryn Savazzi.

"Compared to many other people, our situation is better. We have everything we need with us, but I know many people who are in worse circumstances and there are people fighting fires, she continued.

We were crammed onto a bus and dropped off at this hotel. The [hotel staff] has provided water and made an effort to keep us going. They can only do so much considering that 600 people arrived here.

The journey was described as a "weird experience" by her daughter Ella.

Ella said, "We're supposed to be on vacation having fun, but instead we've been worrying about where we're going to be next and where we're going to sleep.". It's not pleasant. ".

A further 1,200 will be evacuated from three villages - Pefki, Lindos and Kalathos.
According to officials, 19,000 people have been evacuated by land and sea, and more are expected to leave three villages—Pefki, Lindos, and Kalathos.

Another Cardiff family described their "shocking" ordeal of being forced to leave their hotel on Rhodes.

While on vacation with their children, ages 12 and 10, Ynyr Roberts and Gwenllian Glyn, a BBC Wales journalist, claimed they were forced to leave the majority of their belongings there.

They talked about seeing the flames move toward their hotel.

Gwenllian and Ynyr (left) and a fire near their hotel (right)
Due to the wildfires, Gwenllian Glyn, Ynyr Roberts, and their two children had to quickly leave their hotel on Rhodes.

We noticed this large cloud, and then my son's phone texted us to tell us to leave the area, Ms. Glyn recalled. "I hurried to the front desk and requested to be let out. ".

She claimed though that there were neither buses nor a plan to leave the hotel.   .

Because of how quickly it changed from nothing to a massive yellow cloud, she said, it was clear that they hadn't really planned for this kind of situation. The start of the flames right by the hotel and the uncertainty of our remaining time were the most terrifying parts. ".

buses and people trying to escape
In order to get to the airport, Gwenllian Gwyn claims she and her family rushed to find a bus.

The family made the decision to sprint down a hill beneath their hotel as the fire got closer.

When we reached the bottom of the hill, she said, she saw a small minibus and asked, "Please, please, can you take us," to which the driver replied, "Yes, jump in.". Twelve people managed to fit into the "tiny" car.

Ynyr and Casi
Before being forced to flee, Ynyr Roberts and his 10-year-old daughter Casi were in Rhodes.

We had to shout, "Please can my husband and daughter get on," she said, because "[my husband] and [my daughter] weren't with us.". It was extremely surreal; you only see these things in movies and cannot imagine experiencing them in person. ".

They struggled for hours to get to the airport, but on Sunday morning they made it back to Wales.

Fires forced Marlyn Samuel and her husband Iwan, who are from Pentre Berw on Anglesey, to leave their hotel in the southern part of the island.

Marlyn Samuel
Anglesey resident Marlyn Samuel claims that she and her husband were "scared for their lives.".

However, when they went to the hotel reception, they were told "everything was fine" and "not to worry" because the fires were only affecting houses higher up. She claimed they also received an evacuation alarm on their phone.

But after that, she added, "we received another text and alarm.". "Until the day I die, I'll remember that noise.

fire and smoke near a hotel
Smoke and wildfires close to a hotel in Rhodes' south.

"We were evacuated when the hotel's alarm went off. Although they couldn't see the fires, she said, "we were afraid for our lives and the roads were being closed.

"The issue was. We'd be confined to the hotel. ".

On Rhodes, wildfires were still being fought by firefighters on Monday.

They were eventually evacuated to a school at four in the morning, according to Ms. Williams.

Fair play, she said, "the Greeks were very good; they provided us with food, water, and toiletries. I had to spend the previous night sleeping on a very cozy mattress on the ground. ".

She and her husband were successful in securing a Monday morning flight to Manchester Airport.

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