At least 50 people are feared dead in wildfires burning in the Attica region around Athens, in Greece’s worst fire crisis in more than a decade.

According to the Red Cross, 26 bodies were found in the yard of a villa in the seaside village of Mati, which is at the centre of the disaster.

Before news of the grim discovery, the official death toll stood at 24.

As part of a huge rescue effort, emergency workers used boats and helicopters to evacuate a beach.

A search-and-rescue operation is being conducted for 10 tourists who fled one of the fires in a boat, officials say.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling the blazes and the authorities are seeking international assistance.

“We will do whatever is humanly possible to control it,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told reporters.

Most of the victims were trapped in the village 40km (25 miles) north-east of Athens, and died either in their homes or their cars.

The village is located in the Rafina region which is popular with local tourists, especially pensioners and children attending holiday camps, Reuters news agency notes.

At least 104 people were injured, 11 seriously, with 16 children among the casualties.

“Mati doesn’t even exist as a settlement anymore,” one woman was quoted by Reuters as telling Greece’s Skai TV. “I saw corpses, burned-out cars. I feel lucky to be alive.”

“Thankfully the sea was there and we went into the sea, because the flames were chasing us all the way to the water,” said Kostas Laganos, who also survived the Mati fire.

“It burned our backs and we dived into the water… I said my God, we must run to save ourselves.”