A catastrophic forest fire in Portugal has claimed at least 62 lives, including four children, officials say. Most died while trying to flee the Pedrógão Grande area, 50 km (30 miles) south-east of Coimbra, in their cars, according to the government. Hundreds of firefighters are continuing to tackle the blaze, which has spread across several fronts.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa called it “the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires”.
The death toll could rise further as many people remain missing, he warned. The authorities have declared three days of national mourning, starting on Sunday. Secretary of State for the Interior Jorge Gomes said that the majority of the victims died from smoke inhalation and burns, while two died in a road accident related to the fires.
He earlier said 30 bodies were found inside cars, with another 17 next to the vehicles, on one road leading on to the IC8 motorway. Another 11 died in a village next to the motorway. Flames raging around a road in Pedrógão Grande