At least 50 people were killed, including 26 in a seaside villa and a six-month-old baby, as deadly forest fires tear Greece apart.

Hundreds of tourists fled to the beaches as three women and a child drowned in the sea as they tried to escape the flames that were unleashed in the Athens area.

In an “extreme situation” fueled by winds reaching 65mph (40°C), the worst Greek forest fires of a decade destroyed communities in minutes, leaving lines of cars burnt, farms and forests burned.

The horrified officials found 26 bodies, apparently families, huddled together, many of them in a villa in the coastal town of Mati, 25 miles northeast of the capital, according to Mailonline.

Greece has demanded that US drones “observe and detect suspicious activity” as 15 fires started at the same time in three different areas, possibly by criminals who planned to loot abandoned houses by people fleeing flames.

Mass evacuation is underway with military ships, a flotilla of private boats and army helicopters all mobilized.

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