Fiji Time: 1:45 AM on Tuesday 23 December

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Heroes born in face of terror

Timoci Vula
Friday, November 02, 2012

AS FLAMES engulfed the Naviti Resort along the Coral Coast yesterday, tourists were calmly evacuated by their rescuers with big smiles and a "bula".

Tourists this newspaper spoke to say the inferno failed to douse the Fijian hospitality as they were escorted in an orderly fashion out of the four-star resort.

One of the tourists, who joined in to help salvage hotel possessions, said he was amazed at how Fijians held themselves in the face of the calamity.

Australian Luke Ryan, who's here on honeymoon with his Canadian wife Maretta Hanbury, said at the sight of a burning resort that could mean job losses, staff still made sure guests were not in any danger.

"They were incredible. I went in to help because I would do the same to save whatever I can if my property was on fire, and besides, I thought of them and saving some of these things would not cost so much on the hotel," Mr Ryan said.

Another Australian family said they saw the real Fijian spirit of hospitality that made them feel safe at the height of the fire.

Brisbane resident Samantha Bishop said workers were helpful as they assisted everyone out of their rooms.

"They were very selfless, braving the heat of the fire to rescue us. There was no panic, we felt so calm though we felt so bad for them. It's the fire that destroyed an economic area of a village and yet they were selfless," Mrs Bishop's mother, Georgina Hohenhaus, of the Gold Coast, said.

Another Australian Jodie Pattison said: "The staff were absolutely amazing. Such a beautiful culture and they looked out for everybody."

"We just hope that the resort is rebuilt so we can come back and visit as soon as possible," Ms Pattison added.

They said their holidays were not ruined, in fact only added a memory of the visit and vowed to return.





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