Two pilots die after firefighting plane crashes

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The CL-215 firefighting aircraft before it crashed

The CL-215 firefighting plane simply earlier than it crashed

Two Greek air pressure pilots have died after a airplane crashed whereas preventing wildfires on the Greek island of Evia, officers say.

The water-bombing airplane crashed whereas battling a forest fireplace close to Platanistos, the defence ministry stated.

The pilots have been named as 34-year-old Cdr Christos Moulas and his co-pilot, 27-year-old Pericles Stefanidis.

An intense European heatwave has additionally sparked wildfires throughout Sicily, Algeria and Tunisia.

Greek TV confirmed the Canadair plane flying low to drop water on a hearth earlier than turning sharply right into a hillside and bursting into flames.

State broadcaster ERT stated the airplane crashed over the city of Karystos on the island, the place a hearth was burning.

The airplane was amongst a minimum of three different plane and about 100 firefighters tackling fires on Evia.

Defence Minister Nikos Dendias stated the pilots misplaced their lives “within the line of obligation… whereas making an attempt to guard the lives and property of residents, in addition to the surroundings of our nation”.

A 3-day mourning interval has been declared within the Greek armed forces, the defence ministry stated.

Emergency groups have been preventing flames continuous on dozens of fronts on Tuesday, Greek authorities minister Vassilis Kikilias stated.

A firefighter walks next to rising flames as a wildfire burns near the village of Vati, on the island of Rhodes, Greece, July 25, 2023.

Firefighters are battling flames close to the village of Vati on the island of Rhodes in Greece

Crete, the most important Greek island, has been placed on excessive alert, with residents warned there may be an “excessive danger” of fireside.

Extra evacuation flights are happening from Rhodes, whereas greater than 20,000 individuals have been evacuated from houses and resorts in current days.

A world panel of scientists has stated the present circumstances couldn’t presumably have occurred with out human-caused local weather change.

Elsewhere within the Mediterranean, the Italian island of Sicily has been battling fires in a single day after weeks of record-breaking temperatures.

Native media warned that town of Palermo was “encircled” by fires, together with a blaze that compelled the non permanent closure of Palermo airport on Tuesday.

Northern Italy has been reeling from violent storms and excessive winds which have uprooted timber and lifted roofs off buildings.

In some locations, tennis ball-sized hailstones injured individuals, broken automobiles and destroyed crops.

Algeria has additionally been battling to manage wildfires alongside its Mediterranean coast which have killed a minimum of 34 individuals.

A lot of individuals suffered burn accidents and smoke inhalation, whereas greater than 1,500 have been evacuated from fires in 16 provinces.

An outbreak of 97 fires had largely been introduced beneath management, however 13 have been nonetheless raging on Tuesday afternoon, the inside ministry stated.

The general public prosecutor of Bejaia ordered an investigation into what prompted the fires and if there have been potential perpetrators.

In neighbouring Tunisia, officers stated authorities have been investigating the causes of forest fires that had damaged out throughout the nation in current days.

Temperatures of 49C have been recorded in some cities in Tunisia.

Probably the most extreme fires in Maloula, close to the Algerian border, has been introduced beneath management after hundreds have been evacuated.

A forestry official has known as for anybody discovered to have began the fires intentionally to be prosecuted “with an iron fist”.

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