Greek Air Force Pilots Killed in Plane Crash While Battling Forest Fire
Tragedy struck on the picturesque island of Evia as two Greek air force pilots lost their lives in a plane crash while fighting a ferocious forest fire. The pilots, both members of the Greek air force, were on a firefighting mission in Platanistos when their Canadair CL-215 aircraft plummeted to the ground, engulfed in flames. The 34-year-old captain and his 27-year-old co-pilot were declared dead after an extensive search and rescue operation.
The news sent shockwaves through Greece, prompting the defense ministry to declare a three-day mourning period for the fallen heroes. Greece, known for its beautiful landscapes, picturesque islands, and welcoming culture, has been grappling with multiple wildfires, including those on popular tourist destinations Rhodes and Corfu. As the country battles these deadly blazes, it faces the wrath of a relentless heatwave sweeping across the wider Mediterranean region.
Distressing footage circulating on social media showcased the ill-fated plane fighting the fire with precision before suddenly crashing into a hillside and erupting in flames. The incident served as a stark reminder of the significant risks and sacrifices that firefighters face as they battle these raging infernos.
The situation appears dire, with wildfires continuing to ravage vast areas within Greece. WWF Greece distressingly reported that over 35,000 hectares of land have been scorched by fires in the past week alone. The worst-hit areas, Rhodes and Corfu, have witnessed ongoing fire flares, prompting authorities to issue evacuation orders in several locations. Four villages on Rhodes and five on Corfu were among those instructed to evacuate, placing immense strain on the affected communities.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the wildfires a war and acknowledged the limitations of the Canadair CL-215 water bombers currently used by Greece. The need for more powerful firefighting equipment has become increasingly apparent, as climate change intensifies the heatwaves and primes conditions for the rapid spread of fires. Scientists have unequivocally linked the severity of these heatwaves to human-caused climate change, sounding yet another urgent alarm for global action.
As Greece mourns the loss of the two brave pilots, the nation stands united in the face of relentless wildfires. The devastating toll on human lives, the environment, and the country’s economy necessitates swift measures to control and prevent such catastrophes in the future.
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