At least 50 people have died and hundreds have been injured in the wildfires that burned down villages, settlements and forest in East Attica less than 50 km away from the center of Greek capital Athens. The death toll rose sharply on Tuesday morning after 26 bodies were found in a land plot close to the coast of Mati next to the harbor town of Rafina.
Authorities fear that the death toll may rise, as relatives keep calling the Fire Service asking for missing loved ones.
The last dead to have been recovered were bodies in the sea off the port of Rafina.
Among the victims are many children as the coast of North-East Athens is a favorite destination for summer vacations for Greek families.
At 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, the bodies of 26 people were discovered in a land plot in Argyra Akti by Mati, just 15 meters away from the sea.
The bodies of adults and of many children were found hugging each other, rescuers report. The group was most likely attempting to reach the sea. The people got trapped in the flames as access to the sea was impossible.
Their options were either the cliff or the flames.
Short time later, three more bodies were found in a tavern by Kokkino Limanaki, as well as the body of a woman nearby.
One more body was recovered from the sea in Loutsa.
By 11:00 a.m.media speak of 54 dead.
Half an hour later, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos say the number of dead was 50.
According to information by 10 o’ clock Tuesday morning, all the dead have been found in the area between Rafina and Nea Makri. Specifically in Kokkino Limanaki in Mati, where people were trapped in their homes and their cars.
Struggling against the smog in the water… The pictures flood the social media.
Others were drowned when they jumped into the sea in an effort to flee the flames. Many were drifted away from the shore and to the open sea by the waves and the currents.
The fire broke out in the forest area by Daou on Penteli mountain at 5 o’ clock Monday afternoon. By a wind blowing with average intensity of 9 Beaufort and occasionally of up to 11 Beaufort, the fire inferno moved quickly from the mountain Penteli eastwards.
Rescue teams told reports that “many burned cars were found with the doors open, the keys on and some basic needs items.”
According to official data by the Fire Service at 10:00 a.m.
The number of injured is 156 adults and 16 children. Eleven adults are in critical condition with extensive burning injuries and/or lung burning. The children are in condition that is not considered as serious.
Hundreds of people, residents, visitors and tourists received first aid in the area of fire by medical personnel and paramedics in mobile units, the governor of the National Center for Health Operations Nikos Papaeustathiou told media.
- The Fire Service urges relatives of missing people to call <199> and give the necessary information.
Hundreds of homes and business places have been burned down. Mayor of Rafina, Vaggelis Bournous told media that more than 1000 houses and more than 300 cars were burned.
The fire is still burning in the area, fire fighters worked all night against the flames and continue during the day. Aerial means resumed operation by the first light of the day. There are currently 2 Canadair and 3 helicopters operating in the area.
State of Emergency has been declared for both areas where wildfires raged in East and West Attica, both areas less that 50 km away from Athens.
More KTG reports about the wildfires in East and West Attica here.