Wildfire in Greece has killed over 70 people, many missing


Wildfires raged through seaside resorts near the Greek capital of Athens, torching homes, cars and forests as they killed at least 74 people, authorities said Tuesday. Twenty-six of the dead were found huddled together in a compound, while a few bodies were recovered from the sea where they had fled to escape the flames and smoke.

Greece endures wildfires every summer but the fires that broke out Monday were the deadliest to hit the country since 2007. Fueled by gale-force winds, they trapped hundreds of people on beaches, roads and in homes.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared three days of national mourning. There were fears the death toll could rise even further, as there was no definitive count of how many people were missing.

Although the fires had largely abated by Tuesday afternoon, they were far from out.

Hundreds of firefighters aided by water-dropping aircraft were tackling the remaining areas in the two main blazes near the capital. One was northeast of Athens near Rafina, where most of the casualties appeared to have occurred, while the other was about 30 miles west of Athens, where some flare-ups were reported Tuesday afternoon.

Four other fires were burning in other parts of the country, including near Corinth and on the island of Crete.

Coast guard boats patrolled the shores near fire-hit areas Tuesday after more than 700 people trapped by quick-moving fires had to be rescued from beaches or the sea, where six of the dead were found. Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said 88 people had been picked up from the sea by a military vessel.