Eyewitnesses on Thursday described how the storm that hit Greece’s Halkidiki region led to the death of a 55-year-old Romanian tourist and her 8-year-old son who at the time were dining at a taverna.
The two were among six foreign tourists who lost their lives in three separate incidents on Wednesday evening as the storm swept though popular resorts causing havoc.
The tragic incident occurred in the resort of Nea Plagia. According to witnesses, mother and son were dining at a restaurant, under a gazebo, when the storm hit.
The gale force wind blew the gazebo away, trapping many customers under the debris. The young boy ran to escape but the wind lifted him high in the air. He crashed against the front window of the taverna and was pronounced dead when rushed to a local hospital. The body of the mother was discovered later under the debris.
One eyewitness said: “The wind was so strong that it brought down trees and the roof of the gazebo, crushing the customers underneath. We managed to save some, but our efforts to save the woman were in vain.
The wind literally picked up the boy and sent him crashing against the window. We could not believe our eyes, the images were tragic. Then I learned that the child had died in the hospital.”
Another witness, dining at the same taverna, described the panic when the storm hit.
“We ran in all directions…We pulled out of the wreckage anyone we could. Unfortunately we could’t reach the woman. At least ten people were injured.”
Government Spokesman, Stelios Petsas, said during a briefing on Thursday that the General Secretariat for Civil Protection had issued a warning in four languages about dangerous weather conditions on Wednesday.
Citizen Protection Minister, Michalis Chrisochoidis, expressed his sorrow for the victims of the storm.
“I want to express my sorrow on behalf of all […] We mourn for the loss of these souls and we are in solidarity with their relatives, with the people who have lost their families,” the minister said, adding: “We will do everything possible as a country to stand by the relatives of the victims.”