Greece wildfires: scores dead as holiday resort devastated

Death toll rises to 74 as Red Cross official says 26 people died as they huddled together on beach in Mati

The worst wildfire to hit Greece in over a decade tore through a small resort town near Athens on Monday afternoon, killing at least 74 people, injuring almost 200 and forcing hundreds more to rush on to beaches and into the sea as the blaze devoured houses and cars.

Huge, fast-moving flames trapped families with children as they tried to flee from Mati, 18 miles (29km) east of the Greek capital. Among the dead were 26 people whose bodies were found huddled tightly together close to the beach, a Red Cross official said on Tuesday morning.

It was the country’s deadliest fire since blazes raged across the southern Peloponnese peninsula in August 2007, killing dozens of people.

The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said a state of emergency had been declared in the Attica region, which includes Athens, and ordered three days of national mourning.