Daughter screams 'I don't want to die' as family desperately flee Rhodes wildfire

Greek authorities said 19,000 people have been evacuated so far. Credit: MEN Media

A mum has described the horror of hearing her daughter scream 'I don't want to die' after fleeing the Rhodes wildfire.

Mother-of-two Jodie, 32, and her husband Matt, 35, had arrived on the Greek island from Manchester Airport on Saturday 22 July around 1am.

But within a few hours of arriving at the Princess Andriana Resort and Spa, they experienced a sudden power cut before 'air raid sirens' sounded and they were told to 'run to the sea' from their hotel in Kiotari.

The couple cradled their children as they ran towards the water to jump on a boat and leave their suitcases on the beach as the wildfires raged on.

Jodie, from Lancashire, said: "We ran to the beach, dragging our cases and the kids. The smoke was thick and black and the heat was immense. We left the cases after a few steps and the baby's pram."

"Out of the smoke a boat then turned up. I had push my daughter through the bars on this boat and then my son. We just wanted our babies to get to safety.

"They let me on but were shouting it was for women and children only at first. Waiting for Matt nearly tipped me over the edge.

"We couldn't breathe and we had towels over our mouths. My daughter was screaming 'I don't want to die'."

Following the chaotic scenes and devastation on the beach, the boat departed and sailed through the thick black clouds of smoke before arriving at Lardos Beach.

The heat was an unbearable 43°C.

The family had kept their passports with them when they abandoned their suitcases at the resort. Credit: MEN Media

The family then began moving on foot and managed to catch a bus to Lindos before a taxi was able to take them to Faliraki and then on to Rhodos.

Luckily, they had kept their passports with them when they abandoned their suitcases.

"We thought we were safe but then the sirens started again. I've not seen anything like it. We had to run," Jodie added.

The family finally got a taxi to the airport and the driver tried desperately to find them a hotel for a few hours, to charge their phones and get the kids some sleep.

"We wanted out, and we managed to switch our flight and we landed in Manchester at 7am this morning (Sunday, July 23).

"People are traumatised. A woman was pushing her mum in a wheelchair and they'd lost her dad's ashes which they'd taken to Rhodes to scatter.

"Another girl had family unable to get on the boats and phones weren't charged so no idea if they were safe.

"The people of Rhodes are the heroes here. The boat guys, the guy handing out towels on the beach to protect my babies from the smoke, the free cold drinks when we got off the boat, the bus that stopped in Lardos, the taxi driver in Rhodos, Chris - our amazing taxi driver from the previous night, his local knowledge and reassuring voice notes were a game changer."

The blaze, which has been described as Greece's largest evacuation, has been going for six days as the fire service warned more fires could break out with temperatures set to reach 45°C.

Greek authorities said 19,000 people have been evacuated so far. Police on Rhodes said 16,000 have been evacuated by land and 3,000 by sea from 12 villages and several hotels.

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