A dramatic rescue outside my window

February 22, 2013

Athens, Greece

By John Kolesidis

Today I woke up to the deafening sound of thunder. The rain was pouring hard.

I made myself a cup of coffee and watched the rain out the window flood the surrounding streets. I was at a loss as to how I would get to the office without getting soaked, so I decided to stay put until things calmed down a bit. When I finished my coffee, I looked out the window again, and things had taken a dramatic turn.


A bit further down the street I could see an immobilized car getting swollen by the flood. Then I heard some muffled voices. I put on my galoshes and raincoat, took my cameras, and tried to get there. I walked through a small park, but that led me behind barbed wire which I couldn’t get over. I saw a woman trying to hold on to her car door, while the water was at waist level. I called out to her not to be scared, urging her to hold on to the door until I could get closer.

I took some pictures behind the barbed wire, and then I tried to find a way to cross the flooded park so that I could get to her. When I got in front of the fence, there was a cascade between me and the woman, as she was on the other side of the road. People were looking on from their balconies, and I started shouting out to them to call the fire brigade. Then a man on the same side of the street climbed on top of her car, and another man managed to approach as well.

The woman’s leg was trapped among the branches that were being washed away under her car door, and she could easily get swept away too. She was panicking, and the look on her face was crying for help. I called out to her to hang on, and urged the men who had got to her to try and encourage her.

I took some more pictures, and as I was at a loss as to what to do next, I rushed back to the park to try to find some rope. All I could get my hands on was a long, entangled watering hose. A woman helped me cut a big chunk of it, and I got back to the woman with it.

By that time, the water had come down a bit, so a man was beside her trying to untangle her leg. I wore my cameras across my back and got next to them. We managed to remove the branches from the car door and her legs.

A happy ending was on the cards, so I caressed her face and kissed her hand. The young woman who had helped me with the hose was there beside me. Everyone helped to carry her away from the car.

I put up my camera again and took some more pictures. On the way to the closest “refuge” I carried her too. I felt extremely relieved. During the whole thing, I kept thinking that I wouldn’t be able to find it in me to bring up my camera and start shooting if the waters had washed her away…


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Good people, and a good outcome. ‘Kudos’ in particular go out to the two men who went to her aid and were there on the car with her during the height of her peril.

Posted by AtypicalMale | Report as abusive

A pathetic photographer greedy enough to take pictures and make money on other people’s misery and coward enough to justify his behavior. I would like to know you….ever

Posted by antoinepraz | Report as abusive

^^ Instead of sitting there taking pictures.

Its nice to have the story and the pictures. That is the job of a journalist. But I think those two guys could have used a third hand.

Posted by assmuncher | Report as abusive

Blogger with a camera Ives in a different reality. Feels like a hero taking pictures and directing actual heroes.

Posted by codestud3 | Report as abusive

Seriously, why are we paying so much attention to the photographer. Without pictures we wouldn’t be able to see the disaster. Living here in Greece for 11 years, my question is WHY ON EARTH is this Greek woman trying to get into her car? or, if she is trying to get out, why didn’t she just keep driving to safety before the water rose so high. AND if it rose so quickly (because that is a possibility) why would she choose to open the door and not open the window to climb out? What’s the story behind this picture exactly? OR was she trying to save her car (because I know a Greek would think to do that) Seems to be the perfect example of the non-existence of common sense here in Greece which is “while in a state of disaster the people contribute to creating more disaster”. And it breaks my heart because I am Greek and, having grown up abroad, I understand that I am more Greek than the Greeks here. It seems the majority do not follow rules here, do not believe in safety (because they feel they are immortal), and almost everybody do not have Common Sense in their DNA (or common courtesy, or common decency). With that said, and on a much lighter note, I am glad to see that people actually took the time to help her – even the photographer who told his story. You don’t see that too much in daily living here, even in emergency situations. which is another issue that breaks my heart too…

Posted by GrecianGoddess | Report as abusive