Greece: Plane fighting wildfires crashes
An aircraft involved in firefighting efforts in Greece has crashed, according to the country’s fire department. According to Greek media reports, the incident occurred over the village of Karystos on the island of Evia, near Athens.
At the same time, thousands of Britons have been deported from Rhodes, with latest assessments estimating that flames have devoured around 10 percent of the land on the Greek island.
Additional flights have returned trapped vacationers to the UK overnight, and more arrivals are expected during the day.
Read More: Sad before and after pictures show how wildfires have devastated Rhodes
A wildfire that had been burning for a week on the Greek resort island of Rhodes escalated past defences on Monday, leading to further evacuations.
Strong winds and successive heat waves contributed to the dry conditions, which fueled three major fires in other parts of Greece.
In response to the worsening situation, additional evacuations were ordered in the southern part of Rhodes.
Over the weekend, around 19,000 people, mainly tourists, were transported in buses and boats away from the fire’s path, which had spread from nearby mountains to several coastal areas.
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This evacuation effort has been the largest the country has seen in recent years.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis emphasized the severity of the situation during a parliamentary debate, stating that they were in “at war”, with their full focus on combating the fires. He urged everyone to remain vigilant in the coming days and weeks.
International assistance continued to pour in, with firefighting planes from neighbouring Turkey joining the efforts on Rhodes.
Despite low visibility, the island was buzzing with ten water-dropping planes and ten helicopters trying to combat flames that reached up to 5 meters (16 feet) in height.
Authorities on Rhodes are currently conducting an investigation into the cause of the fires, as well as scrutinizing the readiness and reaction of the authorities.
In response to the devastating wildfires, the European Union has dispatched 500 firefighters, 100 vehicles, and seven planes from 10 member states. Additionally, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt have offered their support.
Vassilis Kikilias, Greece’s climate minister has acknowledged the relentless efforts of the firefighting crews.
He said: “The Greek Fire Service has battled more than 500 fires – more than 50 a day.”
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