Fast-moving wildfires near Athens have killed at least 50 people, officials said on Tuesday, and have forced thousands of tourists and residents to flee in cars and buses, on foot, aboard boats and on makeshift rafts. In desperation, some people plunged into the Aegean waters and tried to swim to safety.
According to a report by The New York Times, Gale-force winds topping 50 miles an hour have fanned a pair of fires that tore through seaside areas popular with travelers, leaving behind a trail of charred resorts, burned-out cars and smoldering farms, and wrapping the region in a pall of smoke. Officials said that at least 173 people were injured, including 16 children, and that 11 of the injured were in critical condition.
Many evacuation routes were blocked, and people who did manage to escape by road had to drive through choking smoke, sometimes with walls of flame leaping through trees just yards away.
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