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To die embraced in an inexorable fire

The authorities have found the charred bodies of 26 people embracing each other near the beach in Mati

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To die embraced in an inexorable fire
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A dreamy scenery, lush pine groves that plummet on recollect coves open to Aegean, became a fire trap this Monday. Unlike previous fires, such as those that for days swept Peloponnese and island of Evia in summer of 2007, with a result of 77 dead, this time high building of area, and resistance of many neighbors to leave ir homes — some built Illegally, in middle of forest, y have provoked a shocking balance. As finding of charred bodies of 26 people embracing each or, aware that y were going to be engulfed by flames, in Mati (about thirty kilometers from Ans), a few meters from sea, where so many inhabitants of area found refuge.

"They have tried to find an escape route, but unfortunately se people and ir children have not done it in time. Instinctively, when y saw end approaching, y have embraced, "said Nikos Economopoulos, head of Greek Red Cross, to local televosión Skai TV.

But not even transparent waters of Aegean served much. Four or neighbors who managed to get into sea were also killed, probably by asphyxiation or by heat caused by combustion of trees, with an ambient temperature that grazed all day 40 degrees and with frequent changes of wind that It made it almost impossible to dominate flames. The port authorities indicated to France Presse that it was three women and one child.

A man observes state in which re have been several cars burned after passage of flames by Mati (Greece) this Monday. Yannis KOLESIDIS EFE

Mati, a small town located in Rafia and very popular tourist destination located only about 30 kilometers east of Ans suddenly became one of epicenters of dramatic fires that have already claimed lives of at least 60 people. Terrible images, like scorched puppies trying to find refuge in boulders just a few meters from shore, or discharge of corpses and wounded this morning in port of Rafia, that se days previous bulls of tourist activity, since it links continent With some Cyclades islands — y are remnants of a story yet to be counted: deadly balance, which can worsen (re are injuries from burns and poisoning in a very serious state, and continues to seek out missing persons); How fire originated (according to Ministry of Interior, was provoked) or at end what political responsibilities, and ensuing monumental anger between parties, will derive from tragedy.

The coastguards are combing beaches to find eventual survivors. Among m and or boats have managed to rescue 696 people who had fled to sea trying to protect mselves from fire. The fire brigade of country reported that intensity and propagation of fire in Mati has begun to decline, although it is not yet completely under control. The emergency service has urged residents to report missing relatives and friends. Most of victims were trapped in village of Mati and died in ir homes and cars, said spokesman of Greek government, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.

The country lives a heat wave, with temperatures of up to 40 º C, and according to meteorological services conditions will remain complicated this Tuesday.

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