Australian wildfires: Remarkable interview live on LBC shows the devastation caused

31 December 2019, 09:05

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

With wildfires raging across Australia, LBC spoke to one resident who fled to the sea on a boat, this is the moment the interview was interrupted by a falling burning tree.

Thousands of Australians have been advised by authorities to flee to beaches as bushfires tear through coastal areas, with residents advised to jump in the sea if the flames get too close.

LBC spoke to Matt Manning who was forced to evacuate on his boat from the coastal town of Mallacoota, in Victoria state.

Matt was about to speak to Andrew Castle when a burning tree fell down beside him.

"It just fell over, as we went to this interview," he said.

"It's unreal," the Australian said, "we fled onto our boat" he told LBC, describing sitting "hour by hour" waiting for the fire to approach.

The sky was blood-red as the fire approached the coast
The sky was blood-red as the fire approached the coast. Picture: Matt Manning

He described the fire starting as a "small glow in the distance, and then got bigger and bigger and bigger and then we jumped on the boat and headed out onto the lake once it got too dangerous."

At times Matt was just 30 meters from the fire, luckily he had already prepared his boat ready to evacuate from the area.

The boat Matt was on had five people, and his border collie Archie, onboard and they waited around 3km offshore waiting for the flames to die down.

"A red hot ember landed on the dashboard of the boat, so I did a quick U-turn and headed back out," he said.

At times the sky went a deep blood red, Matt described waking up at first light saying it "wasn't too bad," he said "it was relatively clear, there was a lot of smoke in the sky, within half an hour the fire hit the main town, and then the sky went this unbelievable orange," he said it remained that colour for around half an hour before it went "pitch black."

"You couldn't see ten feet in front of you for the next four hours, " he told LBC even though it was midday, it was "like midnight."