Death toll from Portugal forest fire climbs to 43

Officials say people were caught in their cars, with at least 60 injured , including firefighters.

Firefighters rest during a wildfire at Penela, Coimbra, central Portugal, on 18 June 2017. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG/LISBON - Rescue officials in Portugal say at least 43 people have been killed in what is being called a catastrophic forest fire.

They say many died while trying to flee an area, 50km south east of Coimbra.

Officials say people were caught in their cars, with at least 60 injured , including firefighters.

The death toll released by Jorge Gomes, the secretary of state for internal affairs, has climbed from the 19 initially announced late on Saturday.

The blaze on Saturday hit the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, 200km southeast of Lisbon, amid an intense heat wave and rainless thunderstorms.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)