'A terrible idea': EasyJet pilot advises tourists heading to Rhodes to get off plane leaving passengers in tears

25 July 2023, 10:38 | Updated: 25 July 2023, 13:44

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37 British holidaymakers were on board at the time
37 British holidaymakers were on board at the time. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Passengers heading for the burning Greek island of Rhodes were left in tears after an EasyJet pilot urged them to get off, telling them their holiday was a "terrible idea".

The pilot made the last-ditch attempt to warn holidaymakers against travelling to Rhodes as the flight prepared to take off from Gatwick.

There were 37 British holidaymakers on board, who were told by the captain that it was a "bad idea" to carry on with their journey.

"Travelling to Rhodes for a holiday at the moment is a terrible idea," he told his passengers.

"As far as I'm concerned, this flight is being operated on an emergency basis.

"Return flights are now being managed by the military. If you want to get off flight, you are welcome to do so."

An easyJet pilot made the dramatic plea on a flight from Gatwick to Rhodes
An easyJet pilot made the dramatic plea on a flight from Gatwick to Rhodes. Picture: Getty

The pilot continued: "I don't know in what capacity you are travelling, but if you are travelling for leisure, my sincere recommendation is it's a bad idea."

Eight passengers, including a crying young boy, then got off the plane, according to a BBC journalist on the plane.

Thousands are believed to be stranded on the Greek island, leaving many with no choice but to flee the flames on foot or sleep in refuge centres and the airport.

The UK government has not warned against travelling to Rhodes, but has warned of wildfires. The Greek government has said it is safe.

Read More: Firefighting plane crashes as it battles wildfires in Greece

Read More: Rhodes fires leave 30,000 Britons in holiday limbo as thousands evacuated across Greek islands

But as temperatures are predicted to rise as high as 45C in parts of Greece, some 30,000 Brits have been left in the lurch due to the flight cancellations, leaving them in limbo over their travel plans.

TUI and Jet2 have cancelled flights to the Greek island, but a number of airlines are still running flights - despite warnings that a number of hotels have been closed due to the blazes.

It comes as Europe continues to face the threat of record-breaking temperatures, with Sicily, Italy nearing its 48.8C record. yesterday.

Thousands have been evacuated from Rhodes amid rampant wildfires
Thousands have been evacuated from Rhodes amid rampant wildfires. Picture: Getty

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast British holidaymaker Narrissa Sketchley described the harrowing tale of her evacuation from fire-ravaged Rhodes.

She told LBC that on Thursday evening "white ash started dropping on us" which was her first indicator of a problem.

"We could see these big, thick, black clouds coming over, the water helicopters were over us."

She told Nick when she called her local holiday rep she was told to "stay put."

Revealing her horrifying tale, Narrissa said her family could no longer stay outside as the smoke was too thick.

"We asked the hotel reception what to do and they told us to stay put, we waited and waited until we got a text from the government."

She said this message told holidaymakers to feel the area she was in, but her family was unsure where the area they were supposed to flee to was.

'Run, Run, Run': Holidaymaker tells of terrifying evacuation from Greek island

"There was no one there to tell us or advise us."

She told Nick "next thing we know there is someone there shouting 'go, go, go' and we ran out of the hotel door and just to the left of us there were red hot flames."

Narrissa said she was told to take her family and flee to the beach.

"We got to the first beach and sat on sunbeds, but there were thick black clouds and ash coming down."

"As soon as we sat on the sunbed we were told not to and told 'run, run, run," Narissa recounted her horror at having to run over "four or five beaches" but with little direction from officials.

"The fire was following us as we ran from beach to beach," Narrissa told LBC.

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