Wildfires have killed at least 74 people in Greece have as several families were forced into the sea by a deadly blaze, just as the country’s Prime Minister Alexis Tspra has decleared a three days of national mourning.
Meanwhile, the bodies of 26 adults and children who apparently died hugging each other were found close to the sea.
As the search for missing persons continues, a website has been set up to help relatives trace their loved ones.
Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the flames, which have been fanned by winds of up to 60mph (100km/h) and have devastated the seaside village of Mati, engulfing homes and vehicles.A number of roads and evacuation routes were blocked by fire and footage of motorists escaping the area shows them driving through thick smoke.
One survivor, Nikos Stavrinidis, told ABC News that despite the air-conditioning in his car, he could still feel the heat from outside as he travelled on a highway.
“We were driving along the road going into smoke, then all-of-a-sudden the flames were at the side of the car,” he said, adding: “All the houses on the hill beside the highway were completely burnt out.”
Dimitri Piros, director of medical services for Ekav, Greece’s nationwide ambulance service, told the BBC that people had suffered horrific injuries because of the speed of the fire.
Relatives of those reported missing have been posting photographs on a website in the hope of tracing their whereabouts.
It is Greece’s worst fire disaster since 2007, when dozens of people were killed in the southern Peloponnese peninsula.