Greece storm: Heart-stopping moment tourists run for safety as deadly storm strikes
Over 100 people were injured in the violent tempest which whipped through the Halkidiki peninsula bearing 60mph winds. Two elderly Czech tourists were killed when strong winds and water overturned their travel trailer, police said. A woman and an 8-year-old boy from Romania were killed when a roof collapsed on a restaurant in the beach resort of Nea Plagia. And a man and a young boy, both Russians, died when a tree fell near their hotel in the seaside town of Potidea, authorities said.
Streets in the area were dotted with uprooted pine trees and overturned motorcycles, and wooden rooftops had been torn off and dumped on beaches.
A Reuters correspondent saw sun loungers strewn in mangled heaps with other debris across Nea Plagia’s golden beaches.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose government was sworn in this week after winning elections on July 7, cancelled his morning schedule and was being continuously briefed, a government official said.
Civil Protection Minister Mihalis Chrisochoidis, at the scene, said Greece was mourning the loss of life, adding: “In coming days all damage will be repaired.”
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The MailOnline reported that a British family sheltering from the terrifying storm said: “You wouldn’t have stood a chance if you were out in it. If you’d been on the balcony you’d have been 60 miles away by the time it finished.
“The winds must have been 100mph, at least.”
Father Andy Gilchrist reportedly said that the storm started as really intense lightning flashes on the horizon, but ‘within a click of the fingers’ it had come on full-force.
Panicked waiters then jumped over tables to try and close two sets of heavy glass shutters, before giving up and retreating behind a second set of glass doors.
Andy said it was at that point that daughter Grace got “really, really frightened” and ran with five other women to hide in the toilets.
He added: “There were six of them in one cubicle, my daughter was upset and they were calming her down.”
Such severe storms are unusual in Greece, where summers are typically hot and dry.
But the tragedy had echoes of a wildfire almost a year ago that raced through the resort of Mati almost without warning, fanned by hot winds, trapping many inhabitants before they could flee and killing 100 people.
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The director of the Nea Moudania Medical Centre, Athansios Kaltsas, told Greek television: “It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this.
“It was so abrupt, and so sudden.”
Mr Kaltsas said patients taken to the clinic ranged in age from 8 months to over 70.
Some had head injuries from trees and other falling objects.
Authorities said around 100 people, mostly tourists, had been injured, and 23 of those had been admitted to hospital.
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