My daughter, 5 years old, asked if we were going to die from the Rhodes fire escape while our hotel was burning.

A MUM has told of the heartbreaking moment her daughter, 5, asked if she was going to die as she fled a wildfire in Rhodes.

Joanna Hughes, 35, her husband Jon, 38, and their daughter Emilia went Greek on the island for a family vacation in the past the tragedy happened.


Joanna Hughes, her husband Jon Hughes and their daughter Emilia are fleeing the wildfireCredit: NCJ Media
The couple were to enjoy 10 nights in Rhodes


The couple were to enjoy 10 nights in RhodesCredit: NCJ Media/Joanna Hughes
Helicopters were flying overhead as the family fled


Helicopters were flying overhead as the family fledCredit: NCJ Media/Joanna Hughes
About 19,000 people were evacuated from Rhodes


About 19,000 people were evacuated from RhodesCredit: NCJ Media/Joanna Hughes

The couple paid £3,600 for a 10-night break at the Lindos Imperial Resort & Spa in Kiotari, which they booked through Jet2.

But instead of a dream trip – they were left running for their lives as if A total of 19,000 tourists and locals were evacuated like a fire burning on Rhodes.

Joanna and her family were forced to leave their belongings at their hotel – which they were later told had been gutted in the fire.

“We tried to stay together but Emilia felt that it was not right.

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He said several times, ‘Are we going to die?’

“I haven’t stopped crying since we got home.”

They joined thousands of other tourists as they walked along the rocky shores during the extreme heat to seek shelter.

The family, from Murton, County Durham, walked four miles to escape the fire and thick black smoke.

But in the end he arrived at a hotel where the Army and the police transport people away from the area.

The police took them in a police car to a third hotel 13 kilometers away, where they met a German family, who had a rental car.

The two families made a mutual decision to drive to the other side of the island to get to the airport and back home.

Joanna, who works in HR, said she was told that the hotel she was staying in, as well as the surrounding hotels, had been set on fire.

He said: “Thousands of tourists fled.

“We just walked along the beach, it was rocky.”

“Then a young man shouted ‘come here’ and we had to turn around and go to the bank.

“That’s when the ash cloud came down. It was like walking in an oven, it was so hot. I couldn’t see at all.”

“There were babies wrapped in towels, it was very dangerous. We were so high that we had nowhere to go, we had to keep going or the smoke would hit us.

“You could see the flames in the mountains.

“We were walking and walking away from the flames that were coming down. We didn’t know where we were going. We were following a single path and there was no plan.”

Joanna, Jon, a National Grid engineer, and Emilia went to a hotel in Rhodes on Wednesday (July 19) and were due to return home on Saturday, July 29.

Joanne said: “It was our summer holiday with Emilia. He’s in the lobby so it’s our first time on vacation.

When we got off we took a taxi to get to the resort and we already saw smoke, the taxi driver said the fire has been going on for a few days.

“He seemed fine and when we got to the hotel the receptionist said ‘It’s fine, it’s in the mountains, it can’t get near us.’

Joanna said that on Saturday afternoon the wildfire got worse and she decided to leave the hotel.

He said: “We were around the pool until about 12:30 in the evening.

“We were wearing our pajamas because we couldn’t get warm from the sun because there were clouds and ash was falling on us.

“We took that time to make a decision to go, we took one bag, passports and money and left.

“Some of the hotel staff were shouting for them to leave but there was no way out and no one was identified.

“I don’t know if there was a fire at the hotel at the time, but there were no alarms going off.

“It was a matter of talking to your next-door neighbor and making a decision.”

Joanna said she walked four kilometers in the heat and took turns carrying Emilia, who had blisters on her foot and was bitten by a wasp.

When they arrived at the airport, Joanna said they paid £300 each to get a TUI flight back to Newcastle on Sunday morning.

Joanne criticized Jet2 for not contacting them, and other holidaymakers, throughout their time there.

He said he only got a message from them on Sunday morning, when he was already back in Newcastle.

He said: “We always go on Jet2 holidays. I have friends who work at the airline and we usually can’t fault them.

“It makes you worry that no one is being counted. There were no delegates there, there was nothing.

“We haven’t met them at all, not even a text saying ‘we know what’s going on’. I got a message from them this morning but it doesn’t matter to us, we’re already home.”

Jet2 since then canceled all flights to Rhodes until next Sunday.

A spokesman said: “The situation in Rhodes continues to be urgent, and our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our customers and partners who have been affected.”

Meteorologists have announced that 2023 is the year of El Niño – a natural phenomenon that occurs around the world and causes changes in the global climate.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization has said that it will increase the temperature around the world, and the effects may last throughout the year.

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And although the temperature is summer, the European temperature of 48.8C – recorded in 2021 in Sardinia, Sicily – it has not arrived and is not predicted to break.

Greek authorities have released new wildfire warnings and being Temperatures are forecast to reach above 45C this week.

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