Two pilots killed as plane fighting Greek wildfires crashes

Two pilots killed as plane fighting Greek wildfires crashes

Two Greek pilots were killed in a plane crash while fighting wildfires on the island of Evia, east of Athens. This marks the first fatalities in the current wildfires in Greece. The air force confirmed that the captain and co-pilot of the Canadair CL-215 plane lost their lives in the crash. The state broadcaster ERT showed footage of the plane dropping water over a fire before crashing into a hillside and bursting into flames. The ages of the pilots were reported as 34 and 27 respectively.

The wildfires on the island of Rhodes have been ongoing since Wednesday and have intensified due to hot and windy conditions. Firefighters, along with assistance from Turkey and Slovakia, are working tirelessly to battle the blazes. The state broadcaster reported that approximately 10% of the island’s land area has been burned. As a result, tourist evacuations from Rhodes have been taking place, with more emergency flights scheduled to bring holidaymakers back home.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledged the challenging days ahead and expressed hope that conditions may improve after Thursday. He emphasized the global issue of climate change and the lack of a “magical defense mechanism” to combat its effects. Scientists have recently published an assessment stating that human-induced climate change has played a significant role in the extreme heatwaves experienced in various parts of the world, including Greece.

In response to the fires, a prosecutor on Rhodes has launched an investigation into the causes of the fires and the preparedness and response of authorities. The state broadcaster ERT reported that the investigation will also assess the extent of the damage, with approximately 10% of the island’s land area affected. The mayor of Rhodes described the situation as an “unprecedented ordeal.”

The impact of the wildfires on tourism is significant, as Rhodes is one of Greece’s top summer destinations, attracting around 1.5 million foreign tourists during the summer months. Many tourists have been evacuated, and tour operators have canceled upcoming trips. The mayor of Rhodes emphasized the need for superhuman efforts to restart tourism on the island. Tourism is a vital sector for Greece, accounting for 18% of the country’s economic output and one in five jobs.

The wildfires in Greece highlight the urgent need for proactive measures to address the increasing threat of fires during the summer season. Greece has previously experienced devastating fires, such as the blaze in Mati in 2018, which claimed the lives of 104 people. While improvements have been made in terms of evacuations, critics argue that more needs to be done to enhance firefighting capabilities.

The situation in Rhodes is not isolated, as fires have also been reported on the island of Corfu. Greece has been experiencing exceptionally high temperatures, with forecasts predicting temperatures exceeding 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. These extreme weather conditions exacerbate the risk of wildfires.

As the firefighting efforts continue and the investigation into the causes of the fires progresses, Greece faces the challenge of rebuilding and revitalizing its tourism industry, which is crucial for the country’s economy. The resilience and determination of the Greek people, along with international support, will be essential in overcoming this unprecedented ordeal.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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