Horrified family demands answers from TUI after they were flown to Rhodes as a bushfire raged across the island only to be stranded at the airport and sleeping on the ground with thousands of tourists.
A British family have shared their horrifying experiences in Greece after they said their travel agent took them to Rhodes despite the bushfires raging on the island.
Devon councilor Jess Bailey flew to the island from Bristol airport on July 22 with her husband and two daughters, aged 11 and 15.
She said the family descended into chaos at the airport when wildfires triggered the country’s largest disaster evacuation in history.
speaking to devon liveHe said: ‘After much driving around, they took us to the evacuation center.’
She added: ‘Why did TUI take us and hundreds of other people when the bushfires cut through the hotels? We spent the night with hundreds/thousands of Brits in the evacuation center in Rhodes and I couldn’t sleep a wink.
‘We have had totally useless communication from TUI. They sent an email at 4:30am saying “I may be experiencing some delays at the airport” and that I can get my own transportation to our hotel.
Jess Bailey (bottom right) flew into Rhodes with her family on Saturday
Wildfires burn through forests in Rhodes, Greece, in this image obtained from social media, on July 23.
TUI says it has representatives on the ground to work with local authorities and help manage the logistics of people and food.
But tourists stranded on Rhodes described the scenes at the airport as “absolute pandemonium”.
Stranded families have told MailOnline how they were left ‘fighting for our lives’ to try to get on the boats as desperate tourists pushed children to force them on board.
Distraught tourists, including young children, have been photographed lying on the ground at Rhodes airport.
Others were seen looking anxiously at the departure board as they tried to flee the ‘apocalyptic’ island.
The government said on Sunday afternoon that it was “actively monitoring the fires in Rhodes” and is in close contact with local authorities.
The Foreign Office has deployed a Rapid Deployment Team of five staff and four British Red Cross first responders who have been photographed trying to help British citizens at the airport.
Newlywed Andrew Brittan, 27, and his wife Emily traveled from the East Midlands to Rhodes for their honeymoon yesterday, little knowing it would turn out to be a holiday from hell.
“I spent the first night of my honeymoon on a mattress outside,” Andrew told MailOnline from a shelter center where generous locals have been donating mattresses to terrified tourists.
While they have been trapped in the blistering heat with ‘hundreds’ of other tourists in a makeshift evacuation centre, other Britons have been desperately trying to escape the fire-ravaged island.
Destroyed vehicles are seen as wildfires burn through forests in Rhodes, Greece, in this image obtained from social media, July 23, 2023.
A forest fire burns in the village of Trapeza, in Achaia Peloponnese, Greece, on July 23, 2023.
Newlywed Andrew Brittan, 27, and his wife Emily spent the first night of their honeymoon last night on a mattress outside a makeshift shelter center. They couldn’t go to their hotel after arriving in Rhodes because it had already been evacuated.
Mother Abi James was on vacation with her husband, friends and the couple’s two young children when they saw llamas approaching their hotel and were forced to run for their lives.
The families, along with dozens of others, say they were told to stay put. But Abi’s maternal instinct kicked in and they fled on foot, walking about five miles in 42 degree heat to escape the raging flames yesterday.
MailOnline contacted TUI for comment.