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Pictures show family's dramatic escape from Tasmanian wildfires

A family cling onto a jetty to escape the wildfires behind them. Photo: AuBC's Australia "7.30" show

A mother who thought she was going to lose her five children and parents to the wildfires in Tasmania has been reunited with her family.

Bonnie Walker's parents and five children survived the blaze by jumping into the sea and clinging onto a wooden jetty after a wall of fire trapped them.

The children were being looked after by Ms Walker's parents, Tammy and Tim Holmes, at the time. Paul Davies reports:

As Ms Walker drove through the fires she listened to the radio and became aware that her family were "surrounded by the fire."

I braced myself to lose my children and my parents.

– Bonnie Walker

When the approaching fires crept closer to the family, Tim and Tammy Holmes made the lifesaving decision to get into the water with their grandchildren.

Tim Holmes made the decision to get his family into the water. Credit: AuBC's Australia "7.30" show

We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across towards us.

We were relying on the jetty really. And the difficulty was, there was so much smoke and ember and there was only about probably two to three hundred millimetres of air above the water.

So we were all just heads, water up to our chins, just trying to breathe because it was just, the atmosphere was so incredibly toxic.

– Tim Holmes

The fire raged for three hours and the family finally managed to escape after Holmes found a dinghy on the foreshore.

The family managed to escape after the grandfather found a dinghy. Credit: AuBC's Australia "7.30" show

He put the children in the vessel and then dragged it for 200 to 300 metres to where the air was cleaner.

Images show Mr Holmes' wife and his grandchildren huddling in the sea, clinging to the jetty as the wildfire engulfed the land behind them.

The family huddle in the sea. Credit: AuBC's Australia "7.30" show

The family were reunited on January 5 with Ms Holmes and her husband - who was unaware of the danger his family was in because he was hiking along a remote coastline.

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