7 dead after quick, powerful storm hits Greece

Hailstorms, heavy rain and gale-force winds slammed the Halkidiki region of northern Greece Wednesday night, killing at least seven people, officials said.

Strewn debris is seen after heavy storms hit Nea Plagia, Chalkidiki, northern Greece on Wednesday night. Photo by Ververidis Vassilis

The unusual storm arrived near the popular vacation area of Thessaloniki and lasted for about 15 minutes. Officials said about 30 people were hurt.

“It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this,” Athansios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Center, said. “It was so abrupt and so sudden.”

A Czech couple died after their caravan blew over in the storm and a Romanian woman and her child died when a restaurant roof collapsed at Nea Plagia. A Russian man and his son were killed when a tree fell near their hotel at the seaside resort of Potidea.

The body of a man was found Thursday in an area between Sozopoli and Nea Kallikratia. Authorities believe the body may belong to a 62-year-old fisherman who went missing during the storm. At least one person among the injured was treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in Halkidiki after many structures were damaged.

Greek Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said crews are working to restore electricity in the affected areas.

ByClyde Hughes