Mitsotakis cancels visit after fire deaths

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has cancelled his scheduled trip to Cyprus on Wednesday following the deadly crash of an aircraft fighting the wildfires in Greece.

The water bomber crashed on Tuesday while fighting forest fires on the Greek island of Evia.

“A Greek Canadair plane with at least two people on board crashed near Platanisto,” fire department spokesman Yannis Artopios said.

For more than ten days, Greece has been plagued by fires and scorching temperatures.

According to initial information, the aircraft, which took part with at least three other aircraft and around 100 firefighters in the fight against the flames, crashed into a ravine.

The accident occurred on the heights of Karystos, where a fire started on Sunday.

According to information from the Ministry of Defence, the two pilots belonged to the Greek Air Force.

Cypriot Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said in a written statement: “President Nikos Christodoulides, in his communication with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, expressed the deepest condolences of the Republic of Cyprus for the tragic accident that occurred in Karystos, Evia.

“The President reiterated Cyprus’ support for Greece, which is being tested by the devastating fires.

“The President and the Greek Prime Minister decided jointly to postpone tomorrow’s (Wednesday) planned visit.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was also expected in Nicosia on Wednesday for the tri-summit with Mitsotakis and Christodoulides, but he cancelled after undergoing heart surgery at the weekend.

Last week, Cyprus sent aircraft and firefighters to tackle the wildfires in Greece.