A BRIT dad-of-two says he was nearly killed by a falling tree during freak storms that ripped through Greece leaving seven people dead overnight.
Ollie Pitham, 34, was on holiday in Ikos Olivia resort, with his wife and two young sons, age 4 and 2, when he was forced to dive out the way of a 15ft tree as it fell towards his apartment.
The ferocious storms ripped through a tourist region in Greece last night, killing seven holidaymakers including a toddler and an eight-year-old boy.
At least 100 others were injured after gale-force winds, rain and freak hail storms struck the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece.
Ollie, from London, describes how he and another family he’d travelled with were walking their children around the resort when the weather suddenly changed.
He said: “We were on holiday with our friends and their two boys and I’d decided to go for a walk to get the kids to sleep while the wives had a drink.
“The weather had been great, reaching 30C but it suddenly changed in a matter of minutes.
“The lightning started first and within five minutes the rain and winds hit and people were shutting the bars and restaurants.
“We were told by staff to get back to our rooms so we ran as quickly as we could.
“The kids were crying and everyone was in a real panic.
“It was so surreal and everyone just went crazy.”
After getting his family safely back to their room, Ollie ventured into their private garden to take videos of the terrifying storm.
Ollie, who owns an interior design business, said: “I wanted to get some footage of the storm but heard a snapping sound.
“If I hadn’t been paying attention it could have been a lot worse, it could have killed me.
“It fell sideways and broke all the fencing – but if it had fallen slightly closer to the building it could have done a lot of damage.
Ollie said his boys were terrified during the ordeal and the family were forced to pull the kids’ beds away from the windows in case another tree fell during the night.
Thankfully all family members escaped the storm unharmed and Ollie says the hotel staff provided excellent support.
Ollie, who flew out with his family last Saturday, said: “We were very lucky.
“A lot of other trees fell too but the one in our garden was the biggest.
“Staff came this morning to remove the debris.”
Dramatic footage shows strong winds sweeping through the region, which is popular with tourists in the summer.
Other British holidaymakers were trapped in their hotels, buildings were damaged and cars were overturned in the carnage.
A 39-year-old man and a boy, aged two, who are believed to be from Russia, died after a tree fell on their vehicle, according to the Greek Reporter.
Two elderly Czech nationals were killed when strong winds swept away their travel trailer in Halkidiki, police said.
A woman and an eight-year-old boy, both from Romania, were killed after a roof collapsed on a restaurant in Nea Plagia and a seventh body was found at sea.
Athansios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Centre, said: “It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this. It was so abrupt, and so sudden.”
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Officials have declared a state of emergency in Halkidiki and Greece’s newly appointed citizens’ protection minister is due to visit this morning.
Such severe weather is unusual in Greece, where summers are typically hot and dry.
Meteorologist Klearxos Marousakis described conditions as “extremely unusual” for this time of year.
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