- 60 dead including six-month-old baby as worst Greek forest fires in a decade rip through the Athens region
- Rescuers say they found bodies of 26 bodies, apparently families, found huddled tightly together at one villa
- In the same village of Mati, people were burnt alive after being caught in a traffic jam while fleeing to beaches
- Fires fuelled by 65mph winds and temperatures of 104F tore through communities in a matter of minutes
- Mass evacuation is underway today aided by military vessels, a flotilla of private boats and army helicopters
- Greece has asked for US drone to ‘detect suspicious activity’ as it emerged 15 fires had started at same time
- Interior minister has described the fires as a ‘national tragedy’ and a ‘biblical disaster with human losses’
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Ten tourists drowned when a boat capsized trying to rescue them from gale-driven flames which have killed at least 60 in Greece and which may have been started deliberately.
A mother and son from Poland were among the dead when the vessel flipped in the water after picking up guests from a hotel in Mati as forest fires tore through the resort, 25 miles from Athens.
In the same village, terrified holidaymakers and locals were burned alive, some of them trapped in their cars in traffic jams as hundreds tried to flee the raging inferno.
Dashing to the water was the only way to escape for most villagers, but some – including families with children found clasped in a last embrace – perished behind a wall of flames and toxic smoke as the ‘lightning quick fire’ swept from the hillsides to the sea in less than ten minutes.
Charred bodies were found on a narrow road clogged with traffic in the village, which a local mayor said ‘no longer exists’. Some survivors spent fraught hours choking on clouds of ash at the edge of the water as they waited for help and watched their town burn.
In the same resort, horrified officials found 26 bodies, apparently families, huddled tightly together in ‘a final attempt to protect themselves’. They were less than 100ft from the sea having apparently made a desperate attempt to escape from their villas – but ended up trapped between fire and cliffs. One girl died as she tried to jump into the water as flames approached.
Officials have asked for US drones ‘to observe and detect any suspicious activity’ as it emerged 15 fires had started at the same time in three different areas near Athens – possibly by criminals intending to ransack homes once they were abandoned by fleeing residents….