Cries for help at sea: Fisherman describes Greek fire rescue

A firefighting helicopter flies over a fire raging in Rafina near Athens

A firefighting helicopter flies over a fire raging in Rafina near Athens

In 2007, more than 60 people were killed when fires swept across the Peloponnese region.

One fire was burning Monday northeast of Athens in the Penteli area, moving into the town of Rafina.

The friend her sister had gone swimming with survived with light burns to the foot, Ms Saridou said, but they became separated in the chaos of the fire.

The village is located in the Rafina region which is popular with local tourists, especially pensioners and children attending holiday camps, Reuters news agency notes.

Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Rosario Lemque reported that there were no Filipinos among the casualties in the deadly blaze.

Among the victims were many minors, including a 6-month-old who succumbed to smoke inhalation, according to Greek Health Ministry officials.

At least 187 people were injured in the blaze, including 22 children.

The coastguard said four more bodies were retrieved from the sea.

Working through the night, coast guard vessels and other boats rescued nearly 700 people who had managed to get to the shoreline and pulled another 19 survivors and six dead bodies from the sea.

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Coastal patrol boats combed the shoreline, searching for survivors and bodies, while rescue teams searched houses and cars.

A father whose twin daughters have been missing since wildfires broke out in Greece on Monday thought he spotted them alive on TV on a rescue boat but it turned out it wasn't them.

Relatives of those reported missing have posted photographs of more than 30 people online in the hope of tracing their whereabouts.

"You can't see anything in the smoke and fire - so much fire and so much smoke". As the fires, which started about 5 p.m. local time Monday, burned out of control on either side of the Greek capital of Athens, cars and farms and forests were torched, with hundreds of people racing toward beaches to be rescued by boat.

"Greece is going through an unspeakable tragedy", Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said as he appeared on television to declare three days of national mourning.

The fire has taken at least 79 lives. "France and Europe express their solidarity with both Sweden and Greece and offer help", French President Emmanuel Macron said in tweets published in French and Greek. Sweden has also suffered forest fires. Another victim died in hospital on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 80, yet it's feared that figure will rise.

In this image taken from video, Nikos Stavrinidis gives a dramatic account of how he escaped from Greek forest fire, in Mati, near Athens, Tuesday July 24, 2018.

Wildfires are not uncommon in Greece, but a relatively dry winter has created tinderbox conditions.

"Mati no longer exists", said the mayor of nearby port town Rafina, Evangelos Bournous, adding that more than a thousand buildings and 300 cars had been damaged.

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