A nail technician feared she would die when her £3,000 TUI holiday turned into a disaster movie – as a freak cyclone battered her hotel so ferociously holidaymakers were evacuated.
Lizzie Spencer was holidaying with her mother for the first time in five years when their idyllic trip to Greek island Skiathos ended in chaos as their hotel was battered by Storm Daniel.
The typically picturesque and sun-drenched island was hit by severe rainstorms and widespread flooding earlier this month – which saw cars washed down the streets.
The wild weather phenomena forced tourists and residents to shelter indoors and left hundreds of Brits stranded, including Lizzie and her mother who holidayed to the island to celebrate her 31st birthday.
Lizzie was five days into her TUI break at the luxury Princess Resort Hotel with her mother when the trip turned into a holiday from hell.
Lizzie Spencer, pictured, was on holiday with her mother in Skiathos, Greece, when bad weather blighted their trip
Ms Spencer witnessed Storm Daniel badly damaging the holiday island of Skiathos
Customers received a text message from TUI advising them to stay in place until the bad weather lifted
The hotel suffered flooding during the adverse weather event which hit the island of Skiathos
Shocking footage and photos show torrential downpours drenching the five-star resort, which led to its popular beach bar being ‘cut in half’.
Shocked online commenters compared the terrifying footage and images to that of a ‘warzone’.
Horrified Lizzie, who flew out to Skiathos from Manchester Airport on August 30, said the storm was like ‘something from a film’ as her hotel went into lockdown and they were forced to take shelter.
Lizzie, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said: ‘I only thought it was a thunderstorm – at first it’s a bit exciting, a tropical storm but it was relentless for 36 hours.
‘Constant thunder, rain and lightning which was lighting up the sky.
‘You didn’t want to go to sleep because you didn’t know what you were waking up to* and if you were going to wake up.
‘Nobody knew what was going on. We were so scared of there being a complete flooding of the hotel, or a landslide and being so close to the sea.
‘We were out of food and power for 24 hours at the height of the storm, it was horrendous.
Ms Spencer said the luxury resort was flooded after the bad weather hit the area
She complained that she and her mother lost two days of their holiday because of the weather
‘We had nuts and water – that’s it for the whole day because we were locked down.
‘I thought it was going to pass but it just didn’t, it was constant. It was so intense, I’ve never experienced thunder like that in my life.
‘The beach bar was a complete write off, it was in half. It took the biggest hit.
‘The outdoor breakfast area was flooded. The beach was split in half in two places – the current was that strong.
‘The height and strength of that current coming was crazy. It knocked walls down, there were cars moving and everything.’
Authorities sent mobile phone alerts warning tourists and residents to take shelter as the island saw record rainfall, forcing the cancellation of a number of flights.
The pair, who’ve stayed in the Princess Resort three times, feared the whole island ‘could’ve gone under’ if the tumultuous weather persisted.
Lizzie said: ‘The scariest bit was when it started flooding properly, when that was coming up to my hotel and the speed of the current, it was scary.
‘The locals said they’ve never seen anything like this. The locals looked scared, which scared me.
‘They were doing their best to get the flooding out and preserve the hotel.
‘We barricaded our window, we didn’t know if the lightning would hit our electrics and set the hotel on fire.
‘It was the unknown of what could happen, I’ve never experienced anything like that. The island could’ve gone under.
‘We didn’t really sleep because the cracks of thunder were unbelievable, they shook the windows.
‘There were 7,000 lightning strikes in 24 hours and there was a grumble of thunder constantly. The lights would flash like off a film.
‘I think the cyclone got stuck in our bay which is why the ordeal lasted for 36 hours.
‘We were right by the sea which is why we were so scared.
Ms Spencer said the weather was like something from a movie
‘I just thought, ‘when are we going to get off this island?’ If you Google cyclones, they can last weeks or months, I was scared we’d be stuck there.
‘When we lost power that was scary because none of us could charge our phones and keep in contact with home.’
Lizzie said airlines sent out 13 empty planes to rescue the stranded tourists – and the pair were relieved to return to the UK a day later than planned on Thursday [September 7th].
Lizzie hopes TUI will provide some compensation for the two days of holiday they lost.
Lizzie said: ‘They got us on and off the plane as quickly as we could. Quite a few times they did apologise for the weather phenomena that happened.
‘I’m hoping for some compensation from TUI but they could say it was an act of God.
‘I lost quite a bit of money as well because I’m self-employed, I lost two days of work.’
MailOnline has approached TUI for a comment.