HOLIDAY hotel swimming pools are being drained by fire crews — some using helicopters — in a desperate bid to find water to fight wildfires.
Power failures due to downed electricity lines mean mains pressure has dropped, forcing emergency crews to take drastic action in a “race against time” to save parts of Greek island Rhodes.
A chopper was seen drawing water from one of three pools at beachfront hotel Ampelia Seaside Resort in Gennadi yesterday to tackle the wildfires raging across nearby hillsides.
And firefighters from Slovakia — who answered the island’s plea for help — jumped into another of the hotel’s pools to hook up pumps to fill tankers, which were driven to the fire’s front lines.
Crews working round the clock told The Sun how high demand for water from residents and tourists on the island amid record-breaking 41C temperatures, has added to the serious shortage.
It comes after a state of emergency was declared across the entire island, with 53 separate fires raging.
One firefighter said: “There are 600,000 litres of water in these three pools. We are pumping 600 litres of water out per minute.
“This is now critical. The electricity outages mean we don’t have enough water pressure on the island to be able to fight the fires.
“This is a tiny island and it still has lots of tourists and locals — think about how many gallons of water they are using. There is not enough.”
Mercy flights continued to bring stranded British tourists home yesterday.
Last night, UK travel bosses called for a change in the Foreign Office’s advice for holidaymakers heading to Rhodes.
Which? travel editor Rory Boland said: “Without a Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office warning against travel to the affected regions, travellers who don’t want to go but are refused flexibility to rebook are likely to be left holding the bill for acting sensibly, and will be unable to claim on insurance.”
He urged those due to visit the island in the coming weeks not to cancel yet, as they may not get a refund.
Greek holiday spots Crete, the Peloponnese and Ionian Islands, western Greece, Thessaly, and central Macedonia are also at high risk of blazes.
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