At least 50 people killed in wildfires near Athens, Greece

At least 50 people found dead and 'eight tourists missing' as apocalyptic wildfires trigger state of emergency in Greece

Greece wildfires: At least 50 killed, over 150 hospitalised

Greek firefighters say that at least 74 people were killed in wildfires in the country's Attica region, which includes Athens, as a summer heatwave has increased the risk of blazes across Europe.

Ms Malliri said that strong winds have fanned the flames, with the fires spreading rapidly into inhabited areas, preventing people who are in their homes or in their cars from managing to flee.

The bodies were found just several yards from the sea, and were likely trying to escape vicious forest fires that have engulfed much of the region.

One eyewitness decribed the moment they realised they had to flee. "The wind changed and it came at us with such force that it razed the coastal area in minutes".

"What upsets me and what I will carry in my heart is that it is awful to see the person next to you drowning and not being able to help him".

Coast guard and private boats picked up more than 700 survivors from beaches and the sea - but also recovered six bodies. Glasses were breaking, containers of gas in kitchens and auto deposits were exploding. "Instinctively, seeing the end nearing, they embraced", said Nikos Economopoulos, head of Greece's Red Cross.

There was a lot of panic in the streets.

Zoe Holohan and Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp became separated as they tried to escape the fires.

Dozens of people died when forest fires ravaged southern Greece in 2007.

"The only road", he said, "was the sea".

In Mati, 26 of the dead were groups of families or friends found huddled together.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras canceled a planned visit to Bosnia to deal with this disaster.

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Turkey has offered to send firefighting aircraft to neighboring Greece after twin wildfires tore through areas near Athens.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: "Following the tragic wildfires in Greece, we are offering a flexible rebooking policy for customers wanting to return home early".

Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the blazes and the authorities are seeking global assistance.

At least 220 firefighters were on the scene there while five water-dropping planes and seven helicopters were fighting the blaze from the air.

Evangelos Bournous, mayor of the town of Rafina, said at least 60 people had perished.

"Then the patrol boats came".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed his condolences and said his country was ready to help.

Many in the area were unable to escape the fast pace of the blaze even though they were a few metres from the Aegean Sea or in their homes, the fire service said.

Fires are a recurring problem during the hot, dry summer months in Greece.

Heavy rain is forecast across southern Greece on Wednesday, which it is hoped will boost the firefighting effort.

The New York Times said that wildfires are an annual occurrence in Greece, but a drought and a recent heat wave, with temperatures over 100 degrees, have helped make this fire particularly risky.

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