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Mass evacuation to the sea as dozens burn to death in homes, cars and on beaches in Greece


At least 60 people have been killed and more injured by wildfires in Greece, Metro reported.

The death toll rose after 26 more bodies were discovered by at a seaside resort this morning, the Greek Red Cross said.

The authorities had previously announced 24 deaths and more than 150 injuries from wildfires around the Athens region, before finding 26 dead at a villa in the coastal town of Mati.

Emergency crews found the group of 26 – some of them children – lying close together in a field just 30 metres from the sea near Mati in eastern Greece.

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‘They had tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their kids didn’t make it in time. Instinctively, seeing the end nearing, they embraced,’ Nikos Economopoulos, head of Greece’s Red Cross, told Skai TV.

One of the survivors of the fires has given a dramatic account of how he fled from the fire, swimming into the sea to escape the flames and choking smoke only to get swept away by the current.

He was rescued by a fishing boat but saw other members of his group drown.

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Nikos Stavrinidis had gone to his summer home in the Mati area near Rafina with his wife to prepare it for his student daughter who was coming to stay.

Before he knew it, the fire surrounded him. ‘It happened very fast. The fire was in the distance, then sparks from the fire reached us. Then the fire was all around us,’ Stavrinidis told The Associated Press.

The deadliest blazes to hit the country in more than a decade have seen wildfires fanned by high winds rage through holiday resorts near Athens.

Of at least 104 people injured by the conflagrations 69 needed hospital treatment and 11 were in a serious condition, officials said.

There are concerns the death toll will rise further still after four more victims, a child and three women, were found in the sea near the blazes, bringing the number of dead to 60.

Greece has sought international help through the EU as the fires on either side of Athens left lines of cars torched, charred farms and forests, and sent hundreds of people racing to beaches to be evacuated by navy vessels, yachts and fishing boats.

Culled from Metro

My view: It's terrible, so sad

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