ATHENS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Two people were missing after a privately chartered helicopter crashed on Thursday off Greece's Evia island. The area was in the grip of a storm, the Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
The Agusta A109 helicopter took off from the mainland for the city of Volos but the weather forced it to make a brief landing in the village of Mantoudi in the northern part of the island Evia. The crash occurred after the helicopter left Mantoudi. A rescue operation was underway on Thursday.
Eyewitnesses saw the helicopter suddenly losing altitude. Fanis Spanos, governor of the Region of Central Greece, was among the first arriving at the site.
The wider region of Evia has been battered by Storm Elias since Wednesday. Several settlements suffered severe flood damage, power cuts and water supply problems. Homes have been flooded, roads had to be closed due to landslides, and more than a dozen communities were evacuated.
Late on Wednesday, 257 people were evacuated to safety in Volos, Greece's Civil Protection and Climate Crisis Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Thursday during his visit to the area, according to an e-mailed press release.
"Climate change is here," the minister said.
The region was struck by another storm two weeks ago which had also caused extensive flooding, damages and 17 deaths.