Greek wildfires: British family caught up in Rhodes inferno reveal terrifying ‘apocalypse movie’ ordeal

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“I had my five-year-old son on my shoulders with a wet towel on his head trying to mask him through the smoke.”

A British family caught up in the Greek wildfires have spoken of their terrifying ordeal - comparing the situation to an “apocalypse movie”. Michael Stokes and his relatives have been forced to flee their Rhodes hotel amid mass evacuations as the blaze spreads.

The dad-of-two is holidaying with his sons, his partner Nicola Foreman, 38, and her mum. The group arrived on Rhodes on July 14 and were enjoying an idyllic break at the five-star Lindos Imperial Resort.

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Michael said his family were sat around the pool when they got an alert about the wildfires - and had to leave instantly. The 38-year-old had to split from his partner, mother-in-law and eldest son. They have since been reunited.

No injuries have been reported on Rhodes so far. However, 3,500 people have been evacuated, according to the BBC, with a further 1,200 expected to be moved out.

Michael, a carpenter, said: “We were all sat around the pool and next thing we had an alert on our phone. As we looked around the fire was pretty much lapping against the hotel - it wasn’t far away from us.

“We ran back to our rooms, managed to grab our passports and left straight away. We were guided onto the beach through the smoke. I had my five-year-old son on my shoulders with a wet towel on his head trying to mask him through the smoke.

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“My son and I had to walk for probably 10 miles in blistering heat with no idea where we were going. We’re now at another hotel maybe 15 miles away from our hotel was, we’ve been here since midnight last night.

People evacuated from hotels in Rhodes lie on mats on the floor at an abandoned school.People evacuated from hotels in Rhodes lie on mats on the floor at an abandoned school.
People evacuated from hotels in Rhodes lie on mats on the floor at an abandoned school. | SWNS

“There’s people laid on the floor like an apocalypse movie.”

Michael and his family, from Blackwood in Caerphilly, had hoped to be enjoying a relaxing two weeks in the sun. But yesterday (July 22) they were forced to flee their resort in Kiotari when the wildfires came dangerously close.

No injuries have been reported on Rhodes so far. However, 3,500 people have been evacuated, according to the BBC, with a further 1,200 expected to be moved out.No injuries have been reported on Rhodes so far. However, 3,500 people have been evacuated, according to the BBC, with a further 1,200 expected to be moved out.
No injuries have been reported on Rhodes so far. However, 3,500 people have been evacuated, according to the BBC, with a further 1,200 expected to be moved out. | SWNS

As the family escaped with other holidaymakers along the nearby beach, Michael says he was separated from his 15-year-old son, his partner and her mother-in-law Lynda Foreman, 58, as they were offered a golf buggy due to her mobility issues.

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Michael then embarked on a walk he described as “scary”, claiming he and his young son were first taken to an abandoned school with no provisions which they decided to leave. He said: “As we were walking, we were engulfed in smoke for a fair portion of it so it was quite scary especially with a young child trying to keep his airways clear.

Wildfire smoke seen from Rhodes hotel, Greece. Wildfire smoke seen from Rhodes hotel, Greece.
Wildfire smoke seen from Rhodes hotel, Greece. | Michael Stokes / SWNS

“There was no electric, no running water [at the school]. We left there of our own accord. Not long after we left, it looked like it went up in flames, so it’s been very scary.”

Michael is now at another hotel with his family - but is unsure of their next steps. He said: “The first look of food we’ve had at all was half an hour ago when they started to let us into the canteen. It’s chaos.”

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