Libya: Greek rescuers among those killed in road collision

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A rescue worker in the Libyan city of DernaReuters

At least three members of a Greek rescue team and three members of a Libyan family have died in a road collision.

The rescuers were among a team who were travelling on a bus to the flood-ravaged city of Derna on Sunday when their vehicle collided with a car carrying the family.

Two others in the car and eight others on the bus were seriously injured, according to a Libyan official.

An investigation has been launched.

Othman Abdeljalil, health minister in the administration that runs the east of the country, told a press conference the team had been travelling from the eastern city of Benghazi when the crash happened.

He put the death toll at four but Greece’s armed forces reported three dead and two missing.

Libya is split between two rival governments – a UN-backed administration based in the capital Tripoli, and a rival Egyptian-supported authority based in Benghazi.

The Greek authorities said that a bus carrying medical personnel collided with a vehicle moving in the opposite direction and reported that three members of Greece’s humanitarian mission had died and two were missing.

They added that it was unclear what exactly had happened and that it was looking into the incident in cooperation with Libya, while an operation was underway to repatriate their personnel.

A diplomatic source has told Greek news site Kathimerini that 16 members of the team were Greek rescuers and three were interpreters.

They were on their way to join teams already on the ground from other countries including France and Italy.

Thousands of people were killed when two dams above Derna broke during a powerful storm a week ago. The UN says the death toll so far stands at some 11,300.

More than 10,000 more remain officially missing, according to figures from the UN’s Office for the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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