A flash fire, fanned by strong winds, swept through a wealthy section of the island of Sardinia, on Sunday (31 August), threatening lives and property.
GV PAN EXTERIOR Shoreline as bush Sardinia as bush blazes and people crowd on rock waiting to be rescued (2 shots)
GV ZOOM IN People boarding rubber dinghy (2 shots)
GV Helicopter flies overhead
GV Rescue boat heads for survivors. Crew preparing to receive refugees (2 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO SV Small boat delivering survivor to big boat and rubber dinghy alongside, survivor boards big boat (4 shots)
GV Helicopter flying overhead PAN ACROSS TO Trees on fire (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A flash fire, fanned by strong winds, swept through a wealthy section of the island of Sardinia, on Sunday (31 August), threatening lives and property.
SYNOPSIS: Some of the wealthiest villas in the world, including the property of Sheik Yamani of Saudi Arabia, were threatened in the northeastern part of the island. To escape the flames and smoke, owners and guests fled to the sea-shore to await resume by patrolling boats.
All manner of boats were pressed into service. Some residents managed to get away in their own craft, then formed search and rescue parties. The heat's intensity reached all the way down to the shoreline.
An Italian Army helicopter searched the area for manages survivors.
Many villa owners stayed behind to try to save their villas by wetting-down the surrounding growth. And curiously it was the speed of the fire that saved many. It swept round boundary fences, consuming only the tinder-dry bushes. The area, developed by a major international company which names among its associates the Aga Khan, is currently filled with visitors. They have come for the annual Sardinia Yacht Competition. Those competing include the former British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, and the French financier Baron Edmond de Rothschild, both keen yachtsmen. The gale-force winds caused cancellation of Sunday's racing. Boats normally following the race converged on the danger area to help with rescue operations.
The helicopter remained on surveillance duty while many people, smoke, overcome by the intense smoke, were taken by ambulance to hospital. Brush fires like these are common occurrence in the Mediterranean countries. It takes only a spark to set the rain-starved summer brush alight, especially if winds are strong.