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Monday 20 January 2020

Forensics experts work to identify the dead after Greek fire

The death toll stands at 83 following the devastating wildfires that struck north-east of Athens.

A worker transports a burnt car following a wildfire in Neos Voutzas, east of Athens (AP)
A worker transports a burnt car following a wildfire in Neos Voutzas, east of Athens (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Forensics experts are moving ahead with the painstaking process of identifying dozens of bodies from Greece’s deadliest wildfire in decades.

Coroners are aiming to complete post-mortem examinations on Friday.

The death toll from the fire that ravaged a seaside resort north-east of Athens on Monday stands at 83.

The town of Mati, east of Athens, was one of the worst-hit locations (AP)

Many of the dead were burned beyond recognition and the identification procedure, relying on DNA samples from relatives, is expected to take a few more days.

Rescue crews are continuing a house-by-house search of the burnt area while coast guard and volunteer divers scour the sea for any other potential victims.

A coast guard boat patrols near the coastline near Mati (AP)

As the fire raged, hundreds of people sought refuge on nearby beaches but the intensity of the heat and the dense smoke forced many to swim out to sea.

On Thursday, Greek authorities said there were serious indications that the fire was started deliberately, while experts warned that the devastated coastal resort of Mati had been built like a “fire trap”, with poor safety standards and few escape routes.

PA Media

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