Australian wildfires: Clinging to life, a family defies wall of flame
The family clung on to a jetty for hours, hiding in the water as flames ripped through their home
By Ed Riley
COOMA, Australia — A terrified family cling on for dear life under a jetty as the Australian wildfires rage nearby.
Quick-thinking Tammy Holmes and her five grandchildren hid in the water as flames ripped through their home town in Tasmania.
These pics, taken by Tammy's husband Tim, show the fear on the faces of Matilda, 11, Liam, nine, Caleb six, Esther, four, Charlotte, two, and pet dog Polly, in the town of Dunalley.
Destroyed The family sheltered for two and a half hours as the oxygen around them was quickly eaten up by the blaze.
At one point the jetty caught fire so they scooped up water to put it out.
Eventually Tim, 62, found a dinghy to flee to a hotel outside the fire zone.
The children's mum Bonnie Walker had dropped them at her parents as she went to a funeral.
She said: "We received a message to say that mum and dad had evacuated, that they were surrounded by fire and could we pray. So I braced myself to lose all my children and my parents."
Tim, who led them all to the jetty for safety, said: "We were all just heads, water up to our chins just trying to breathe. The atmosphere was so incredibly toxic. "We had to move out deeper as it was too hot and then the jetty caught fire."
So far no deaths have been reported but thousands of acres of forest and farmland have been destroyed.
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