ATHENS: The death toll from a fire which ripped through a Greek coastal town stood at 80 on Wednesday, with dozens of people unaccounted for, as Greece reeled from the horror of victims burnt alive.
Hundreds of people were trapped in the eastern resort of Mati on Monday night as flames whipped around them. Many jumped into the sea to survive, but others died from suffocation either in their cars, or trapped on the edge of steep cliffs.
The Greek fire brigade said the death of a survivor in hospital had brought the toll up to 80. The service was also getting dozens of calls reporting missing persons, but it was unclear if some of them were among those found dead, a spokesperson said.
Rescue teams combed through the area and the sea on Wednesday, trying to locate anything which could offer clarity on missing persons, who are thought to number about 40.
"It was a really terrible situation here," said Finnish tourist Jaakob Makinen. "We had to run away from the hotel, we ran through the beach, along the beach and then we were caught by fire, so kind of surrounded, we had to go into the water," he told Reuters Television.
It was unclear what caused the fire, which spread rapidly through Mati, a maze of narrow streets and dense forest.