Six tourists killed in storms in Greece

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The freak storm, which only lasted about 20 minutes, hit the popular tourist Halkidiki region and overturned cars. (InTime News via AP)
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Debris litter a beach at Vergia village after a powerful storm hit in Halkidiki of northern Greece. (InTime News via AP)
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A man rides a bicycle among debris after a storm at Nea Plagia village in the Halkidiki, northern Greece. (InTime News via AP)
Updated 11 July 2019

Six tourists killed in storms in Greece

  • Strong winds and hail hit the popular tourist Halkidiki region, near the city of Thessaloniki
  • Television footage showed overturned cars, fallen trees, torn roofs and mudslides

THESSALONIKI, Greece: Fierce storms have killed six tourists and injured dozens of people in northern Greece, authorities said on Thursday.
Strong winds and hail hit the popular tourist Halkidiki region, near the city of Thessaloniki, late on Wednesday.
Television footage showed overturned cars, fallen trees, torn roofs and mudslides.
The freak storm only lasted about 20 minutes, according to witnesses interviewed by state television ERT.
“It was an unprecedented phenomenon,” said Charalambos Steriadis, head of civil protection in northern Greece.
“Six tourists were killed and at least 30 people were injured during this cyclone,” Steriadis said.
Officials have declared a state of emergency.
The storm overturned and ripped open a caravan occupied by a Czech family on a local beach, killing an elderly couple and injuring their son and grandson.
Elsewhere in the region, a Russian man and his son were killed by a falling tree.
A woman from Romania and her child died when the roof of a tavern caved in, police said, while dozens of people were dining.
“I want to express my sorrow on behalf of all... We mourn for the loss of these souls,” said Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, who is overseeing operations in the area.
“We are in solidarity with their relatives, with the people who have lost their families,” he added.
According to port police, a fisherman in his sixties was also missing.
The freak weather also knocked out power in the area, with army crews working to restore services.
At least 140 rescue workers were involved in the operation, emergency chief Vassilis Varthakoyannis said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took over Sunday after general elections, cancelled his meetings to address the disaster, his office said.
The storms came after temperatures in Greece soared to 37°C over the past two days.


Bodies recovered near Greek island after chopper crash

Updated 3 min 53 sec ago

Bodies recovered near Greek island after chopper crash

  • 2 Russian passengers and a Greek pilot were on board
  • Chopper hit powerlines knocking out island’s electricity supply

ATHENS: The bodies of three men were recovered near the Greek island of Poros on Tuesday after a private helicopter crashed through power cables and into the sea, state agency ANA said.
Coast Guard spokesman Nikos Lagadianos said a total of three people were believed to have been on board — a Greek pilot and two foreign passengers.
ANA said the two foreigners were Russian.
A local official had earlier said the crash knocked out power across the small island.
“There was a great flash and the helicopter’s fuel exploded,” deputy Poros mayor Yiorgos Koutouzis told state TV ERT.
“It hit power cables around a 100 meters (yards) from the sea,” he said, adding: “The island is now without electricity.”
The helicopter fell shortly after takeoff from Galata, the nearest coastal village on the mainland facing Poros, 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Athens.
The coast guard said search crews, including six of its vessels, divers and a rescue helicopter, were examining the wreckage site.
Poros is a small picturesque island off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese that is popular with holidaymakers.