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As Flaming Pine Cones Rained Down, Their Only Option: Swim

Wildfire death toll in Greece now stands at 80
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2018 11:28 AM CDT
The burned living room of a house is seen in Mati, east of Athens, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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(Newser) – The death toll in Greece stands at 80 in the wake of devastating and fast-moving wildfires that struck near Athens Monday during what Reuters describes as a late afternoon siesta time. Much of the focus has been on Mati, a seaside town frequented by area tourists. Many fled into the sea to survive, but others were stymied by steep cliffs and suffocated. More remain missing. The latest on what one local paper describes as "Armageddon":

  • The AP offers this treacherous description: "Survivors described dramatic scenes of people fleeing to beaches and being forced to swim out to sea despite gale-force winds and high waves to escape choking smoke and flaming pine cones raining down into the water."
  • Reuters reports on a challenge ahead: identifying the dead. "The majority of the bodies are totally charred," says one forensic scientist who explains that forensic dentistry experts will assist in the effort.

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