EXCLUSIVE – Dramatic moment British tourists are rescued after jumping into the sea as wooden tourist boat was engulfed by flames in Greece, leaving nine-year-old ‘traumatised’
- The inferno engulfed the boat after flames broke out 300 metres from shore
- All 82 passengers were rescued, but children were still left ‘trumatised’
This is the dramatic moment dozens of tourists were rescued from a burning boat after it went up in flames on Thursday off the Greek island of Rhodes.
British holidaymakers were on board as the inferno engulfed the entire boat after a fire broke out about 300 metres from Stenga beach in the town of Archangelos.
Passengers told of how they were forced to make the plunge into the water below as the entire wooden deck started to catch fire where they were standing.
The Greek coast guard said all 82 passengers were eventually taken to land, but witnesses said children were still left ‘trumatised’ by the horrifying ordeal.
Only ruins remained as the ship was entirely destroyed late yesterday evening and it later sank into the Greek waters.
The inferno engulfed the entire boat after flames broke out about 300 metres from Stenga beach in the town of Archangelos
Passengers told of how they were forced to make the plunge into the water before being rescued from nearby boats
The blaze initially broke out late on Thursday afternoon with the fire service immediately called to the scene.
As many jumped into the sea while others were rescued from the vessel, flames quickly tore through the ship covering it from stern to bow.
Shaun Williams, a 55-year-old aircraft engineer from St. Ives, Cornwall said he and his family were wanting to take a boat trip while on their holiday.
He said they were around half an hour into the trip when they stopped at Stenga beach for snorkelling.
‘We were on the top deck and the crew started shouting but we could not understand,’ Shaun said. ‘We then saw the smoke.
‘The crew tried to fight the fire but the boat was made of wood and the fire grew quickly. They started handing out life jackets and a minute later the captain said we all need to get in the sea.’
He continued: ‘There were families with young children and a lot of panic. We could not get down the stairs and had to climb over the top banister and drop to the lower deck.
‘It is then I saw the fire and realised how bad it was.’ He said he told his ‘family to get in the water now and shouted at others to do the same’.
Flames quickly tore through the ship covering it from stern to bow as passengers jumped into the sea
Passengers told of how they were forced to make the plunge into the water below as the entire wooden deck started to catch fire where they were standing
T he blaze initially broke out late on Thursday afternoon with the fire service immediately called to the scene
‘We all jumped in and I would say within a minute or two the place we had been standing was fully ablaze.
Footage showed the fire entirely covering the boat as a long plume of smoke pushed into the air. Tourists were also seen in shock as they watched the inferno from a rescue boat.
‘Boats in the area came to rescue us all and took us to the shore,’ Shaun said. ‘The crew asked us all to sit in a restaurant so they could account for us all. Eventually we were allowed to return. By this time the boat had sank.
After the boat sank, Greece’s Central Port Authority said they would take measures to deal with the marine pollution.
The fire broke out about 300 metres from Stenga beach in the town of Archangelos
After the boat sank, Greece’s Central Port Authority said they would take measures to deal with the marine pollution
Authorities said all passengers were in good health and were later transferred to their hotels by bus.
Shaun added: ‘At midnight in my hotel I received a phone call to attend reception and meet with the Port Police. I was taken away to give a statement.
‘This morning I also received a call from the British Consulate to ask how we were.
‘We had no injuries but my 9-year-old son was traumatised for some time.’