Photo: REUTERS/Costas Baltas
By George Georgiopoulos and Michele Kambas
With most of the corpses badly charred, identification of the dead will be challenging, experts said, meaning no fast closure in sight for suffering relatives.
Hundreds of people were trapped in the eastern resort of Mati on Monday night as flames whipped around them. Many jumped into the sea to survive, but others died from suffocation either in their cars, or trapped on the edge of steep cliffs.
The Greek fire brigade said the death of a survivor in hospital had brought the toll up to 80. The service was also receiving dozens of calls reporting missing persons, but it was unclear if some of them were among those found dead, a spokesperson said.
With many burnt beyond recognition, Greek coroners began the grim task of trying to identify the victims of the wildfires near Athens, having to rely on DNA or dental records as angst over missing persons mounted among relatives.
"Work has started on identifying the victims of the wildfires but the majority of the bodies are totally charred," said Grigoris Leon, head of the Hellenic Society of Forensic Medicine.
The post-mortems and identification procedures are taking place at a morgue at Shisto, west of Athens. Leon said this will involve team work by coroners, forensic dentistry experts from the Athens University's Dental School, and the Greek police's forensic service.
Post-mortems to determine the cause of death are mandatory by Greek law and the last stage after the conclusion of identification procedures.
Rescue teams combed through the area and the sea on Wednesday, trying to locate anything which could offer clarity on the missing, who are thought to number about 40.
Attention! Any person who sends any financial, legal, criminal, administrative liability content resulting from criminal, illegal, threatening, offensive, insulting, profane, humiliating, degrading, vulgar, pornographic, anti-moral, Member / Member's.