A local chef, an Irish honeymooner and a newly-retired Belgian tourist are among the victims of Greece’s deadly wildfires.
Tributes are pouring in for victims of Greece’s wildfires, which have claimed more than 80 lives and left dozens more missing.
The fires, which burned across Greece’s Attica region this week, are thought to be the deadliest on record in the country, as hot weather, drought and strong winds created optimum conditions for the blazes to spread.
People around the world, from politicians to the Pope, have paid tribute to those killed, while more personal tributes have poured in on social media, offering a glimpse into the lives and personalities of those tragically killed.
Chef Panos Kokkinidis is reported to have died alongside his wife, mother and two children.
The Chef’s Club of Greece released a statement remembering Panos, saying he was a “wonderful man with moral values, an excellent professional and above all a family man.”
“To all of us who have met him, he will remain unforgettable for the kindness in his eyes,” the statement said.
Panos’ personal Facebook page has now been turned into a memorial page, and dozens of friends have left similar messages paying tribute to a “great family”.
Over the past year, Panos had shared on Facebook videos and photos of some of the incredible dishes he created as a chef.
A fellow local chef said Panos had been “so unfairly lost”, while one friend said he would now be “cooking in the company of angels”.
Elena, one of Panos’ colleagues, told Euronews he was incredibly creative, and always wanted to learn more.
He was a pastry chef who loved creating dishes with chocolate. But more importantly, he loved his family very much, she said.
"He was a great, great friend," she added.
Irish newlywed Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp is also among those confirmed to have been killed in the fires.
Brian and Zoe Holohan, who lived in Dublin, were on their honeymoon in Mati when they were caught up in the blaze.
They got married a week ago today, according to their status update on Facebook and wedding photos shared by friends.
In a video by Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE, the Irish ambassador to Greece confirmed that Brian had died in the fire. Zoe is in the hospital and expected to make a full recovery.
One Facebook friend described Brian as being as “mad as a box of frogs” and a “true gent”.
He worked for a catering company and was a volunteer for Blood Bikes East, a free emergency medical transport service to hospitals and clinics around the Irish capital.
Blood Bikes East posted a tribute to its member on Facebook.
It described Brian as a “diligent colleague and dear friend,” who had a “huge personality and infectious smile.”
“His no-nonsense can-do approach to the work of volunteering meant that he helped BBE to become the professional organisation we are today,” it said.
The Blood Bikes East tribute had received thousands of reactions and been shared hundreds of times at the time of writing.
The post had also received hundreds of comments from people who knew Brian and general well-wishers who wanted to send condolences to his family.
Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney shared his condolences on Twitter, saying he was “deeply saddened at confirmation of the death of an Irish citizen in Greece.”
“This is such a terrible tragedy, my thoughts are with the families and friends who have requested privacy,” he wrote.
Newly-retired Belgian tourist
Belgian tourist Dirk Bonte, 63, was killed as he tried to flee the blaze in the summer resort of Mati.
He was on holiday with his 13-year-old son Alexander when their hotel was evacuated on Monday because of the fire.
Alexander survived the blaze unharmed, and the exact circumstances of Dirk’s death are unclear.
Dirk had recently retired from his job at FPS Finance. The company confirmed the news in an internal memo shared with Euronews, saying their former colleague “lost his life in the dramatic wildfires in Greece.”
“Dirk lived in Aalst. He was 63 years old and worked for the General Administration of Heritage Documentation in Ghent. He had just retired in late June,” the statement said.
“The executive committee and his former colleagues present their condolences to his family and close friends.”
While not naming Dirk, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders earlier confirmed the death of a Belgian national on Twitter.
“Our thoughts go to his family and friends. Our embassy is helping his young son and his family during these difficult times,” he said.
A former colleague and other social media users sent their condolences to his family on Facebook.