Felony charges for arson of a forest area, with the possibility of criminal intent, have been filed against the skipper and 12 crew-members of a mega-yacht from where fireworks that burned 10 hectares of a pine forest were allegedly launched, a shocking incident now known as the Hydra fire.

The charges were filed by a relevant Piraeus prosecutor on Sunday afternoon, after all 13 suspects – detained since Saturday – appeared at an initial arraignment. All 13 requested and received a continuance to appear before an investigating magistrate on Wednesday.

The charges are related to the wildfire that erupted at the utterly remote Bisti site on the otherwise arid island late Friday evening.

The vessel had been chartered by a party of 17 holiday-makers from Kazakhstan.

Hydra Fire

A file photo of the Persephone 1

An investigation by the coast guard unit on Hydra is continuing with the collection of all data related to vessels that were in the specific maritime region before, during and after the incident. The wildfire was blamed on fireworks launched from the mega-yacht, the now seized Persephone 1.

Hydra fire

The initial and most serious report of the launched fireworks came from the master of a nearby pleasure craft on the evening that the blaze erupted. The latter torched some 30 hectares of precious flora on Hydra, which essentially has one very well-known settlement where no vehicles are allowed. Hydra, considered as nominally part of the Saronic Gulf, is located off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese in southern Greece. The island has long been considered as a cosmopolitan destination for more upscale tourists and day-trippers from the Athens area.

The latter ship skipper has already provided a detailed account to the fire brigade’s arson investigators regarding the Hydra fire.

Roughly half of Greece in a high risk category for wildfires on Monday, due to high temperatures, dry conditions and the possibility of gusty winds.