Derbyshire woman stranded on train in middle of Greece's wildfires

A Derbyshire woman was left stranded on a train after she was caught in the middle of Greece's wildfires.

Friday, 27th July 2018, 5:23 pm
Updated Friday, 27th July 2018, 5:27 pm

Pat Tunnicliff, from Belper, was on the train near a coastal village when all power was cut from the carriages.

She saiid: “Everything went dead. The lights went out and the train just stopped. We must have been stranded on the train for about two and a half hours.

“While I was waiting on the train, my phone was just constantly beeping. I had friends messaging me and asking if I was safe.

“One of my friends texted me that the train line and the roads next to it were closed because of the fires.

“Another friend rang and said: “Get out, get out of the train”. I told them I wasn’t going anywhere. The main road was shut and it was safer staying in the train.”

Pat had been heading back to Athens to catch a flight home at the end of a holiday to celebrate her 70th birthday.

Pat was evacuated from the train which was only metres from the station in Agioi Theodoroi, only ten minutes away from fire-stricken Kineta. “Sparks of flame” were being blown by gale force winds around her while she was in the bus back to the nearest town.

The bus took Pat and other passengers back to Korintos before she caught a taxi back to her friend’s house in Loutra Elenis. During this time, she saw pleasure boats trying to help people evacuate from the coastal town of Kineta.

She had already seen evidence of the devastating blazes earlier in her holiday.

Pat and her friends were swimming near the coastal village of Loutra Elenis when she saw plumes of smoke in the distance.

She said: “I looked over and you could see just black smoke coming from what looked like Kineta.

“At the time, we had no idea just how serious it was. I remember my friend saying: ‘Look at that smoke. Wonder what it is’”

After she later got on the train, she said: “I knew I wasn’t going to catch our flight and it was important to get back to Loutra.

“We weren’t far from an air base and you could see Chinooks carrying water to put out the fires but still didn’t know how close we were until we got back to Loutra.

“Obviously we soon found out just how serious it actually was”.

The drama happened on Monday (July 23).

It was confirmed by Greek authorities that the wildfires had killed more than 80 people. More than 15 fires broke out around the country.

Nikos Toskas, deputy minister for citizen protection, said he believed there were “serious indications” that the fires near Athens were set deliberately.