Five members of a Greek rescue team were killed in a road accident in Libya shortly after arriving on Sunday to take part in rescue operations following deadly floods, according to a new report from Greek authorities published on Monday .
Three members of a Libyan family in the car that collided with the Greek team’s vehicle were also killed and two others seriously injured, according to Libyan Minister of Health in the East Othman Abdeljalil.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the accident “which unfortunately killed five members of the Greek delegation” as “tragic”.
He deplored that “this tragedy occurred while they were fulfilling the noble duty of humanitarianism and international solidarity. The entire country is in mourning,” the Prime Minister wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.
According to a press release from the Greek general staff, “five bodies including three officials from the Greek army and two interpreters from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs who participated in the rescue team will be repatriated to Athens on Monday” aboard a Greek military plane. The other fourteen members of the team were injured.
The three victims of the Greek army are Greek nationals, the Greek general staff said. Defense Minister Nikos Dendias announced a three-day mourning period in the army on Monday.
In an initial assessment, the Greek general staff reported on Sunday three dead and two missing while the Libyan minister indicated that “four members of this Greek team had been killed and the fifteen others were injured”.
The “horrible accident” occurred while the Greek team was en route from Benghazi to Derna, 300 km to the east, the Libyan minister said at a press conference on Sunday in Derna, the town devastated by the flood.
A total of nineteen members participated in this Greek relief operation in Libya.
Thirteen of the fourteen injured were repatriated to Athens overnight from Sunday to Monday aboard a Greek army C-130 sent to Libya for this purpose with a medical team on board. They were transferred to a military hospital in the Greek capital, according to the Greek general staff.
The fourteenth injured person is hospitalized in Libya because his transfer was not possible due to his state of health, the spokesperson for the Greek general staff told AFP.
letelegramme Fr Trans