Forest blaze kills people trapped in cars

  • 18/06/2017
An aircraft drops water over a forest fire near Lagoaca
An aircraft drops water over a forest fire near Lagoaca. Photo credit: Reuters

A forest fire in Portugal has killed at least 19 people, most of them trapped in cars that were caught in the blaze.

The fire which sparked on Saturday is still burning out of control and is already one of the deadliest forest fires in Portugal in decades.

Jorge Gomes, the secretary of state for internal affairs, said President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was en route to the site of the tragedy.

The blaze on Saturday hit the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, 200km southeast of Lisbon, amid an intense heat wave and strong winds that fanned the fire later in the day.

"We have 19 confirmed deaths, all civilians," Gomes said, adding that 20 people have been injured, including six firefighters, and two people were still missing.