Family’s terror in Kos earthquake

The family was forced to sleep outside for three nights
The family was forced to sleep outside for three nights

A Wigan grandad has told of his family’s “horror” after being trapped in the midst of a violent earthquake during a summer holiday.

Graham Cooper, 65, was nearing the end of a week-long break in Kos with his wife May, his daughter Melissa and his two grandchildren, Logan and Rosalie, aged nine and seven, when disaster struck the paradise island.

I thought it was a bomb at first

Graham Cooper

On Thursday, the Cooper family had all gone to bed at the Labranda Marine Hotel in Tagkaki, around four miles from Kos Town, when they were awoken by a “horrendous” bang.

Graham’s first-hand account describes the aftermath of a 6.8 Richter scale earthquake which struck off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey, killing two people in Kos Town and injuring hundreds more.

“I thought it was a bomb at first,” said Graham. “Everything was shaking. I got up and it knocked me onto the bed. My wife was screaming. We had left the bathroom light on for the kids. It all went dark and the lights were flashing on and off. We ran straight to the kids.”

The Marus Bridge family, who were staying on the second floor of the two-storey hotel, were forced to make their way outside in the dark with no shoes and dressed only in the clothes they had slept in.

“We thought the building was going to collapse,” said Graham. “We thought we were a goner.”

Hundreds of holidaymakers who were staying in the hotel were too scared to go back to the their rooms, and instead the hotel provided them with blankets and pillows to sleep out in the car park on sun loungers.

“It was absolutely terrifying,” said Graham. “It was the worst experience of my life. We slept outside on the Friday and Saturday as well because at 8pm each night there was another huge shake, everyone was screaming again. My wife is really shaken up. She keeps getting upset over it and she hasn’t been able to go back to work yet. Everyone’s a mess.”

The quake, which started in the Aegean Sea, caused ripples through the water sending a tsunami with two foot waves to the shores of the island, pushing boats inland and causing more damage to nearby towns.

Graham said: “We were meant to go to Majorca but we changed our minds because of the rising costs.

“I don’t think we will be going to Greece again. My wife says she won’t be going away again. We all cheered when we landed. We are just so happy to be back home.”