American among tourists missing in Greece amid deadly heatwaves

Three tourists, including an American, have died and two others remain missing in Greece as the country faces extreme temperatures and a series of heatwaves that have prompted authorities to close schools and historic sites.

The body of an American from New York, missing since Tuesday, was found Sunday On the island of Mathraki, his family confirmed to CBS News on Monday. Toby Sheets was found dead the day before on a beach on the island, his cousin Greg Sheets and his father Ronnie Sheets said.

His father said Sheets was “a very hard worker and did what he loved, training horses,” and added that he was loved and “will be greatly missed.”

Toby Sheets, a New Yorker whose body was found on the Greek island of Mathraki on June 16, 2024, is seen in a family photo provided to CBS News by his family.

Courtesy of the Sheets family.

Another body was found on Saturday on the island of Samos, where a Dutch hiker had been missing for a week.

Earlier this month, British television personality Dr. Michael Mosely’s body was discovered A few days later, he disappeared while walking on the island of Symi.

Albert Calibet, 59, a retired police officer who holds dual American-French citizenship, was still missing Tuesday after setting out on a hike alone a week earlier on the island of Amorgos. His brother Oliver, in Greece with a small group of other friends and family members to help with the search efforts, posted a video on YouTube on Monday pleading for more help finding Calibet.

He said Greek authorities appeared to be doing what they could with limited resources, but decided the U.S. government had not sent more assets to help with the search.

Two French women were also missing, including one who called the owner of the guest house where she was staying on Friday to ask for help, according to the Reuters news agency. Ilias Gavanas, the guesthouse owner, told Reuters the woman sent him a selfie and a message early Friday morning saying she had fallen.

A member of a search team walks away from Agia Marina in Symi, Greece, where a body was discovered during a search for British TV doctor Michael Mosley, after he disappeared while in vacation, in an archive photo from June 9, 2024.

Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty

He told Reuters he responded to her in French and English, asking her to provide his location and urging her to call the European emergency number 112. He said he also alerted local police.

A Greek relief operations official said tourists appeared unaware of the risks they face walking in extreme heat.

“We saw some [of tourists] walk a trail in 41C [105.8F] without a hat,” Dimitris Katatzis told local media, according to the British Independent newspaper. “It defies logic.”

Greece has seen extreme temperatures arrive earlier than ever this year during its summer season, according to meteorologist Panos Giannopoulos.

“This heat wave will go down in history. In the 20th century, we never had a heat wave before June 19. We had several in the 21st century, but none before June 15,” Giannopoulos said on the Greek public television channel ERT.

Tourists are seen at a viewing site under the ruins of the ancient Acropolis, during high temperatures in Athens, Greece, June 13, 2024.

Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto/Getty

The heat has prompted government warnings, and last week the Acropolis and other tourist attractions were closed as winds from North Africa pushed temperatures in Athens to around 109 degrees Fahrenheit . Schools and daycares were also closed and firefighters remained on alert to respond to any fires.

“The early start of heatwaves, combined with a dry winter, led to a very difficult fire season,” said Vassilis Kikilias, Greece’s Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, according to the Independent newspaper.

High temperatures hit Greece after a European climate monitoring body, the Copernicus programme, said 2023 data showed the continent had experienced a record number of days of “extreme heat stress”, meaning that temperatures were around 114 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Copernicus said heat-related mortality in Europe had increased by around 30% over the past two decades.

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