Young Irish couple tell of how they 'ran for their lives' from Greece wildfires

Young Irish couple tell of how they 'ran for their lives' from Greece wildfires

A YOUNG Irish couple have revealed the terror they experienced when their summer holiday turned into a life-threatening horror.

The raging inferno which has been wreaking havoc in the popular holiday resort of Mati in Greece this week has already claimed the lives of at least 83 people, including one Irish citizen.

Now, Chloe Sugrue (19), from Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, and boyfriend Seán Davis (21), from Finglas, Dublin, have told their harrowing experience of the deadly wildfires.

The couple were on their second day of their stay at the Mati Hotel when the wildfires began to rage through the area.

Speaking to 'News at One' on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday, Ms Sugrue described the moment their holiday turned into a nightmare.

"It was about 3pm we saw smoke, we thought nothing of it at first - just that it was a bit of a gorse fire up in the mountains," she said.

"We went about our day, then at 5.30pm we decided to go for dinner up a bit from the hotel and the staff said the restaurant wasn't open.

"We walked outside and there were people screaming everywhere and panicking.

"We went back to the hotel, asked the manager what had happened. She said 'there's a fire up in the mountain'.

"The staff were all panicking as their families were up there in the mountain.

"They told us to stay in the hotel but then 10 minutes later they told us to get out of the hotel, to get onto the beach.

"The fire was coming from the mountain, we heard a big bang, so we ran to the beach - we ran for our lives to the water.

"There were people running around us. It was very scary.

"The fire was fast approaching our hotel. We were wondering how were we going to make it.

"Our holiday went from the happiest time of our lives to 'how are we going to survive this, how are we going to get home?'"

The couple escaped immediate danger and took refuge on a beach surrounded by distraught families.

There, they watched in terror as the fire travelled toward their hotel, destroying an apartment block beside it.

While the fire raged round the Hotel Mati, it was not damaged and they managed to phone home to let their families know they were alright.

But the couple, along with many others on the beach, suffered smoke inhalation as the flames came closer.

"We were on the beach from around 6pm until 1am and the fire was all round our hotel," said Ms Sugrue.

"It came to 2am and the emergency services said the route was clear and we could go back to the hotel and find out what we could do next," she said.

"We know we are so lucky to be alive," she added.