Aircraft preventing wildfires in Greece crashes with two folks on board

  • Aircraft preventing fires on Evia island crashes
  • Extra flights because of the return of vacationers from Rhodes
  • The prosecutor opens an investigation into the reason for the fires
  • State broadcaster says 10% of island space burned

RHODES, Greece, July 25 (Reuters) – A aircraft preventing wildfires in Greece crashed on Tuesday and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned of inauspicious days forward with fires destroying houses and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of vacationers from the island of Rhodes.

State broadcaster ERT confirmed footage of the aircraft dropping water on a fireplace, then crashing right into a hill and bursting into flames.

The Greek Air Drive mentioned there have been two airmen aboard the Canadair CL-215 amphibious aircraft when it crashed over Evia Island, east of Athens.

Two helicopters rushed to the scene to hold out a search and rescue operation, the Air Drive mentioned. He gave no particulars on the destiny of the airmen.

A whole bunch of firefighters, aided by Turkish and Slovak forces, have been battling the fires which have raged on the island of Rhodes since Wednesday and resurfaced in scorching and windy circumstances. Different emergency flights have been to convey holidaymakers dwelling.

Mitsotakis mentioned Tuesday the following few days can be tough, with circumstances doubtless to enhance after Thursday.

“We’re all maintaining watch,” he mentioned. “Confronted with what the entire planet is going through, particularly the Mediterranean which is a local weather change hotspot, there isn’t a magic protection mechanism, if there was we might have put it in place.”

An evaluation by scientists launched on Tuesday says human-induced local weather change performed an “completely overwhelming” function within the excessive warmth waves that swept throughout North America, southern Europe and China this month.

In Greece, a prosecutor in Rhodes has opened an investigation into the causes of the fires and the authorities’ preparedness and response, state broadcaster ERT mentioned. He mentioned about 10% of the island’s space had burned.


Lefteris Laoudikos, whose household owns a small resort within the resort city of Kiotari, one of many epicenters of the weekend blaze, mentioned his 200 company – largely from Germany, Britain and Poland – have been evacuated in employed automobiles.

He mentioned his father, cousin and two others have been attempting to place out the flames utilizing a close-by water tank.

“Saturday, after I noticed the wind and there have been no planes, I advised everybody ‘we’ll burn in the present day,'” he mentioned.

“My father saved the resort. I referred to as him and he did not wish to depart. He advised me ‘if I depart, there can be no resort’.”

John Hatzis, proprietor of three unaffected motels in northern Rhodes, mentioned the island wanted to welcome vacationers once more.

“After superhuman efforts to include the hearth, we want superhuman efforts to restart tourism now,” he mentioned.

Rhodes, one in every of Greece’s largest islands, is amongst its high summer season locations, attracting round 1.5 million overseas vacationers through the summer season months.

Round 20,000 folks needed to depart houses and motels in Rhodes over the weekend as hell unfold and reached resorts within the south-east of the verdant island, charring land, killing animals and damaging buildings.

After a fireplace within the seaside city of Mati, east of Athens, killed 104 folks in 2018, Greece took a extra proactive method to evacuation. However critics say it hasn’t improved its skill to place out fires which might be widespread in the summertime, though extra intense on this 12 months’s heatwave.

The mayor of Rhodes mentioned on Fb that the island is going through unprecedented hardship.

There have been additionally fires on the island of Corfu.

Greece has been experiencing very excessive temperatures in latest weeks and they’re anticipated to rise via Wednesday to exceed 44 levels Celsius (111.2 levels Fahrenheit) in some areas.

Greater than 2,000 holidaymakers had flown dwelling on Monday and tour operators canceled upcoming journeys. TUI (TUI1n.DE) has reduce flights to Rhodes till Friday. He mentioned he had 39,000 clients in Rhodes on Sunday night.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Greece’s financial output and one in 5 jobs. In Rhodes and plenty of different Greek islands, the dependence on tourism is even better.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Renee Maltezou, Karolina Tagaris and Alkis Konstantinidis; Written by Philip Blenkinsop; Enhancing by Janet Lawrence and Emma Rumney

Our requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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