Australia — The former Bodyrocker was heading back to Benirras Bay on Sunday from a friend’s villa on the famous party island’s north shore when he spotted smoke billowing from nearby bushland.
“Being Australian, you recognise that smoke. When I saw the flames pop up above the trees, I knew it was a bushfire,” he said. “It is a secluded area of the island with one road in and out, so I raced down to the beach to warn people.”
The island hosts celebrities including Elle Macpherson, Kate Moss, and Sadie Frost on their summer holidays as well as the world’s leading DJs and dance acts. Kylie Minogue recently launched her Aphrodite record at the Spanish hotspot.
James, who was with legendary American DJ Arthur Baker, said his urgent pleas for beachgoers to evacuate were laughed off at first.
“People thought I was crazy. They thought they’d be all right because they could just jump in the water but I was worried about the smoke,” he said.
“So I stole a boat, well, borrowed it for a while, and started trying to get people on to it so we could get them as far away as possible.”
When burning cars started to explode, partygoers suddenly realised they were in danger.
“Girls were punching girls to get on the boat, it was crazy,” added James, who was helped by another Aussie with a dinghy.