Hero Brit dad drives car into Rhodes danger zone to save trapped families

A heroic British dad has risked his own life multiple times to save families caught in the Rhodes wildfires to help get them to safety while the Greek island continues to burn.

Jonathan Lewis, 62, has spent eight hours rescuing families from the flames. He has bravely driven passengers in a hired rental car and headed in and out of the danger zone a total of six times.

The dad of two, from Norfolk, had been holidaying with his own family before the fires broke out last week. 

Mr Lewis said: “I’m not much of a fan of sunbathing anyway, so I thought I would see if I could help.”

Heading over the mountains and driving deeper into the smoke towards the Greek village of Lardos, Mr Lewis described the scene as driving into “the end of the world”.

READ MORE: Brits forced to ‘march 12 hours’ to flee Greek inferno in Dunkirk-like scene

Driving into the smoke-filled areas of Rhodes, with his car thermometer reaching a sweltering 45C, he could make out more and more families running away from burning hotels and bungalows.

He stopped to pick up one fleeing family and drove them over the mountain to find refuge in a hotel. At this particular hotel, Mr Lewis said: “There were no rooms, but there were seats, phones, internet and power.”

As tourists tried to escape danger, the dad said he had also met very stressed families who had to put other members on safety boats.

As reported in the Metro, the dad explained: “I picked up an Austrian man and he just burst into tears. He told me he had put his wife and children on the boat as he watched it disappear into the smoke..”

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On July 22, Mr Lewis said he made six round trips out of the danger zone picking up people along the way.

At 1am on July 23, Mr Lewis and his family were evacuated from their resort and luckily were able to find a new hotel room for the rest of their stay. They are now awaiting a flight home to Britain. 

Reports state Mr Lewis’s actions have been hailed heroic as he has been described as the “man of the moment”.

Greek authorities said 19,000 people have been evacuated so far, with the Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection adding it was “the largest evacuation from a wildfire in the country”.

Police in Rhodes said 16,000 have been evacuated by land and 3,000 by sea from 12 villages and several hotels.

Rescue flights are being laid on for Britons holidaying in Rhodes and some holiday operators have cancelled all flights to the island for the time being. 

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