Greek Coast Guard officials said that a search-and-rescue operation is underway for 10 people — believed to be foreign tourists — who are missing after they fled a massive forest fire in a boat, according to reports from the Associated Press.
The group is among the scores of people who have been forced to flee after wildfires fanned by strong winds raged uncontrolled Monday in multiple areas near Athens, destroying houses, closing down major transportation routes and leaving an ominous cloud of black-orange smoke over the capital city.
A helicopter and vessel have searched for the missing 10 in the sea near the town of Rafina to the northeast of Athens.
Greek officials began the search-and-rescue after being notified by Danish authorities, who had received a call from someone in Greece saying they were one of 10 people who escaped a forest fire by boat.
The coast guard said it was unclear what type of boat the missing group was in.
Meanwhile, Greek fire officials report that at least six people near Athens have suffered burns from a fire that was raging in the Penteli area northeast of Athens.
Fire Service spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri said Monday all six have been hospitalized, but offered no further details about their conditions.
Malliri said three hospitals in the greater Athens area have been alerted about receiving more casualties if needed.
Greek authorities have declared a state of emergency in the eastern and western parts of the area and are also seeking assistance from the European Union to stop the fires.
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