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Operation against Portuguese wildfires enters fifth day

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By Seamus Kearney
Operation against Portuguese wildfires enters fifth day

<p>Reports that a firefighting plane crashed in Portugal while tackling the country’s deadly forest fires have turned out to be false.</p> <p>Witnesses reported an explosion soon after a plane flew over but it is thought that may have been gas supplies igniting.</p> <p>The massive effort to combat the flames has now entered its fifth day, with at least 65 people now known to have died and more than 150 injured.</p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/37/41/374145/675x340_bonus-fire1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The fire started on Saturday about 200 kilometres northeast of Lisbon, killing many people in their cars as they tried to flee the blaze.</p> <p>It is being described as Portugal’s deadliest forest fire on record.</p> <p>Nightmare stories are emerging among people who managed to escape. </p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/37/41/374145/675x340_bonus-fire2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>One of those who survived the so-called “road of death” was Mario Pinhal.</p> <p>But he is mourning the loss of his wife, 40, and two daughters, aged 12 and 15. They died on the N236 in the village of Varzeas.</p> <p>Mario told reporters how he fled the fires in one vehicle with his parents and Godmother, who also survived. His wife and daughters were in another car.</p> <p>Through tears, Mario said leaving home was a great mistake.</p> <p>“I helped my Godmother to get out of the car. I never let her go because otherwise she would have fallen. </p> <p>“Maybe at that moment, I could have gone to look for my wife and daughters in some of the cars there. </p> <p>“The only thing I regret was to have left home. Regardless of the efforts and goodwill of people, all I want is to have my wife and daughters back.”</p> <p>Mario’s mother said: “Four of us survived on that road. We should have died. Nobody would miss us. But the girls died. How can I explain this?”</p>