Bride hospitalised, groom missing after newlyweds caught up in wildfires sweeping through Greece

A newly-married couple have been caught up in wildfires that have been sweeping Greece.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 10:14 pm
Zoe Holohan on her wedding day in Co Meath

Zoe Holohan and Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp became separated as they tried to escape the fires in the coastal town of Mati.

The pair, from the Republic of Ireland, got married at Clonabreany House in Kells, Co Meath, last Thursday before flying out to Greece for their honeymoon on Saturday.

Ms Holohan, who works in advertising for the Sunday World, is in hospital after suffering burns to her head and hands, but her husband has not yet been found.

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Zoe Holohan on her wedding day in Co Meath

The couple, who live in Dublin, were travelling in a vehicle when they were forced to flee.

Ms Holohan was able to escape to a nearby beach and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night.

Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp works in finance for a Dublin catering company and also volunteers for Blood Bikes East, which provides an emergency medical transport service around hospitals in Dublin.

Committee member Franco De Bonis said Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp started off as a volunteer rider a year ago and very quickly became further involved in the service and is now its secretary.

Zoe Holohan and Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp on their wedding day in Co Meath, as the couple are on their honeymoon in Greece and have been caught up in the wildfires

"Brian is a very charitable man - he's one of these people who you know when he's in the room. He has a big voice and he's the type who wants to get things done," Mr De Bonis said.

"He's a man of action and is very selfless. His heart is in the right place and will always want to help.

"Brian would never walk away from a situation knowing someone needed help.

"We are not surprised if someone was getting involved in this that it would be Brian. He would make sure Zoe is safe and then go to someone's aid.

"While we know they were on their way to the beach and Zoe got to there, somehow he did not.

"We don't know beyond that but knowing him we are surmising he perhaps saw someone who needed help and went to them."

Mr De Bonis said Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp was "incredibly excited" about his wedding and looking forward to their honeymoon.

He added: "As much as men can get involved in the wedding he did, and he was really excited about it."

It is understood Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp's family are travelling to Greece.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it is providing consular assistance to a number of Irish people who have been caught up in the fires, but would not give details about specific incidents.

Around 79 people have died in the forest fires which have raged through Greek villages and holiday resorts.

Blazes started west of Athens near the town of Kineta, while further outbreaks started 18 miles (29km) east of Athens in Rafina.

Hundreds of people ran to beaches as gale-force winds fanned the flames.

Twenty-six of the deaths were groups of families or friends who were found huddled together as they tried to escape.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney issued advice for Irish citizens.

He tweeted: "Irish citizens in region should keep up to date with local media and follow advice of Greek authorities in affected areas. Irish citizens affected can contact Irish Embassy in Athens +30 210 723 2771 or my Department +353 1 408 2000."

President Michael D Higgins said he has written to Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to express his sympathies with the families of those who have lost their lives and livelihoods in the fires.

He said: "Following my visit to Greece and my meeting with him and the presidents of Italy and Portugal, I am very conscious of the resilience of the Greek people, who should be assisted by all of us in these difficult times.

"I offered, on behalf of the people of Ireland, our deepest condolences and our solidarity."