A serious wildfire broke out in near Athens, the capital of Greece. It killed at least 50 people and more than a hundred people were injured. It swept through a small resort town near Athens, trapping families behind the houses of the walls with smoke and flames.
This is the worst fire crisis in more than a decade in Greece since flames devastated the southern Peloponnese peninsula in August 2007, killing dozens. The fire broke out late Monday afternoon and was still burning in some areas on Tuesday morning. According to a local report, 26 dead bodies were found in a yard in the seaside village of Mati, which is believed to be the centre of the wildfire. It is also confirmed that the overall death toll is around 49, mostly young children. As the centre of the disaster is near the beach of the resort, rescue team in Athens were sent to look for missing persons, using boats and helicopters to evacuate a beach.
The disaster took place in Mati. Most of the people were trapped in the village which is north-east of Athens. Dead bodies were found either in their homes and their cars. The village is located in the Rafina region which is popular with local tourists, especially for children spending holidays.
A photographer Pantelis Saitas thought, “These people must have tried to find ways out into the sea but they were likely trapped in the flames.”
“Thankfully the sea was nearby and we went into the sea for survival because the flames were chasing us all the way to the water. It burned our backs and we dived into the water. ” – Kostas Laganos, one of the victims who survived the fire.
Fire department spokeswoman in Greece, Stavroula Malliri said that strong winds have fanned the flames which allowed the fires to spread rapidly. Greece has requested firefighting assistance from the European Union in order to control the burning fire and rescue more people from the disaster.