The Sydney Morning Herald - As the official death toll from Greece’s wildfires mounted on Tuesday, it became clear this was a national tragedy of a kind awfully familiar to Australians.


Horrific stories emerged as rescue workers made gruesome discoveries, such as the group of 26 men, women and children who perished while huddled together, trapped between the fire front and a sheer cliff. The death toll stood at 74 on Wednesday morning.

Many more survived by the skin of their teeth – fleeing into the sea as the fires overtook their holiday houses. It is the peak holiday period for locals as well as tourists. Fishing and coastguard vessels patrolled the coast, plucking people out of the water to safety.

Strong, unpredictable winds fanned and spread flames that killed people in their homes and in some of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cars that had tried to flee at the last minute but were lost in smoke and gridlock.

“Everything happened in seconds,” Andreaas Passios, who lives in the devastated town of Mati, told the Times. “I grabbed a beach towel. It saved my life. I soaked it, grabbed my wife and we ran to the sea.”