ATHENS (Reuters) – A Greek prosecutor on Sunday charged 13 crew members of a yacht with arson after fireworks launched from the vessel allegedly sparked a forest fire on the island of Hydra, the semi-official Athens News Agency (ANA) said.

The crew, all Greeks, were arrested on Saturday at an Athens area marina after allegations that they started the forest fire late on Friday.

“The crew and the captain will respond to the charges before an investigator on Wednesday,” ANA news agency said.

All crew members denied the charges, Greek media reported on Sunday. The yacht, which was chartered by foreign tourists, was seized by the Greek authorities.

Civil protection minister Vassilis Kikilias told Open TV on Sunday there were witness accounts that they burned part of the forest on the island.

Hydra, southwest of Athens in the Saronic Gulf, is popular with foreign visitors and people travelling on yachts.

The firefighters brought the blaze, which burned part of the island’s only pine forest, under control early on Saturday.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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