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Greece weather latest: Hunt for arsonist suspected of sparking Athens wildfire as search for missing American continues

Greece weather latest: Hunt for arsonist suspected of sparking Athens wildfire as search for missing American continues

Michael Mosley’s friend pays tribute to ‘one of the most important broadcasters’

Greek authorities are investigating whether wildfires that threatened to engulf Athens were sparked by a single arsonist.

Civil protection minister Vassilis Kikilias said officials verified indications that the fire near Athens was the result of arson as well as extreme weather conditions.

He said there is a video and photos of the suspected arsonist and authorities will publish them in due course.

In Koropi, a storage facility and at least one home were burned, and flames crept into a boat dry dock and across fields of dry grass and olive trees. Authorities evacuated two nearby villages.

It came as the girlfriend of a missing American tourist criticised Greek authorities for allegedly doing little to help search for him.

Albert Calibet, 59, has been missing since last Tuesday while hiking on the island of Amorgos.

It comes as a number of tourists were found dead in recent weeks having all embarked on hikes in extreme temperatures.

Have you been affected by this? Email barney.davis.ind@independent.co.uk

American tourist found dead as death toll rises

A 55-year-old American has been found dead on the Greek island of Mathraki, the police said on Monday, the fifth tourist death in recent weeks following a period of unusually hot weather.

Police did not share the identity of the dead American, whose body was found near a beach on Mathraki on Sunday. He was transferred to the island of Corfu where an autopsy will be carried out, a police official told Reuters.

A 74-year-old Dutch tourist was found dead on the island of Samos on Saturday and two hikers were found dead on Crete on June 5.Rescue teams were also searching for two French women, aged 73 and 64, on the island of Sikinos, and a 59-year-old US policeman on Amorgos.

Temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) earlier this month, just as the holiday season began across Greece’s remote beaches, ancient sites and mountain trails.

“There is a common pattern – they all went for a hike amid high temperatures,” Petros Vassilakis, the police spokesman for the Southern Aegean, told Reuters.

Athena Stavrou18 June 2024 07:30

Wildfires near Athens caused by arsonist – minister

Civil protection minister Vassilis Kikilias said officials have verified indications that the fire near Athens was the result of arson as well as extreme weather conditions.

He said there is a video and photos of the suspected arsonist and authorities will publish them.

In Koropi, a storage facility and at least one home were burned, and flames crept into a boat dry dock and across fields of dry grass and olive trees. Authorities evacuated two nearby villages.

There were no reports of deaths or injuries.

Barney Davis20 June 2024 07:38

Common symptoms of heat exhaustion as tourists die while hiking in Greece

Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

· Dizziness and confusion

· Loss of appetite and feeling sick

· Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin

· Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach

· Fast breathing or pulse

· A high temperature of 38C or above

Holly Evans20 June 2024 07:00

French woman missing on island of Sikinos had sent distress text

One of the two French women who went missing on a Greek Island last week sent a distressing text to the hotel she was staying at before vanishing.

Authorities on the island of Sikinos are desperately searching for two French hikers,, aged 73 and 64, after the pair went missing on Friday.

It has emerged that the 73-year-old sent message to the owner of the guest house she was staying at in the morning. Ilias Gavanas told Reuters he last heard from her on Friday when he reached her by phone around 8:30am after missing a call from her at 5:50am.

He said the woman had sent him a selfie and a message saying: “I am fall”. He replied in French and English asking for her location and telling her to call the European emergency number 112, and alerted police and municipal authorities.

Holly Evans20 June 2024 05:00

Greek locals growing frustrated with hiking tourists

Greek locals are reportedly growing frustrated with tourists “underestimating” the extreme heat as five holidaymakers are confirmed dead.

A documentary filmmaker living in Greece told the i paper that tourists in Athens don’t know the intensity of the heat and said she often sees tourists hiking in temperatures that locals wouldn’t do exercise in.

“There is a sense of frustration among locals [at British tourists] but also they feel very sorry, very sad. They do not want [tourists’ deaths] to happen – it is also bad for them as a tourist destination,” she said.

People drinking from water fountains in intense heat in Greece
People drinking from water fountains in intense heat in Greece (REUTERS)

Holly Evans20 June 2024 03:00

Brother of missing American tourist criticises US efforts

The brother of American tourist Albert Calibet who has been missing for over a week on the island of Amorgos, Greece, says chances are very slim he will find the missing former police officer.

In a tearful YouTube video Oliver Calibet, who arrived from California last week to join the search operation, said that Greece is doing what it can with its limited resources, but “I don’t know why the US can’t come here and help. The US is doing nothing.”

He continued: “I’m flabbergasted. This is a small little island. He should have been found days ago if the US had put in a little, a tiny little effort.”

Holly Evans20 June 2024 00:30

Greece expecting to hit record tourism this year as well as temperatures

As well as record temperatures, Greece is expected to see record tourism this year. In a forecast published days before the heatwave, the National Bank of Greece said tourism is up 24 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period a year earlier. The analysts said a 20 per cent rise in international arrivals in spring suggests the country will face a longer season than expected.

It said the country needs to reduce rampant construction and protect water resources and coastal areas if it wants to maintain a healthy tourism industry across its mountainous mainland and beach-lined islands.

“Our country’s economy relies heavily on tourism which makes the need to manage it in a sustainable way even more urgent,” the report said.

Tourists standing in the heat in Athens
Tourists standing in the heat in Athens (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Holly Evans19 June 2024 22:30

Tributes to ‘hard working’ horse trainer found on Greek beach

An American tourist who died in Greece has been identified.

Toby Sheets, a Floral Park resident for more than 20 years, was found on a beach on the Greek island of Mathraki on Sunday, his family told CBS News.

Sheets, 55, worked as the longtime assistant trainer to horse racing Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the leading horse trainer in North America by wins.

His father told CBS News Sheets was “a very hard worker and he was doing what he loved, training horses” and “will be dearly missed.”

“New York’s horse racing community grieves the loss of Toby Sheets, and NYRA extends our condolences to Toby’s family and legion of friends.” added Patrick McKenna of the New York Racing Association.

Holly Evans19 June 2024 20:30

Greece at the frontline of battle against climate change

Greece is on the frontline in the world’s battle against climate change, being hit by extreme heat and flooding in the space of just a few weeks last year. It recorded its longest heatwave on record, lasting 16 days, in July 2023. The high temperatures fuelled wildfires across the country that saw locals and tourists evacuated.

The minister responsible for civil protection, Vassilis Kikilias, said the last week has posed a particular wildfire risk due to the combination of high temperatures and winds. “The early start of the heatwaves, combined with the dry winter, has led to a very difficult fire season,” he said.

A total of 44 agricultural fires were reported by the fire service last Thursday alone.

Wildfires burning in Greece in May
Wildfires burning in Greece in May (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Holly Evans19 June 2024 18:30

ICYMI: Two die from heatstroke in Cyprus after killer heatwave strikes Greece

Two people have died from heatstroke in Cyprus, while others are fighting for their life in hospital, health officials have said.

On Friday, an elderly person died from heatstroke after the weeklong heatwave with reportedly record temperatures for the month of June, with temperatures in excess of 40C.

An 84-year-old woman died a day after her admission to a hospital on Friday, said State Health Services Organisation spokesman Charalambos Charilaou. He said another three elderly patients were in serious condition.

Holly Evans19 June 2024 16:17


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