Madeleine McCann Search Wraps up with Slim Chance of Breakthrough Seen

Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25, 2023, after the search operation in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been declared over. (AFP)
Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25, 2023, after the search operation in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been declared over. (AFP)
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Madeleine McCann Search Wraps up with Slim Chance of Breakthrough Seen

Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25, 2023, after the search operation in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been declared over. (AFP)
Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25, 2023, after the search operation in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been declared over. (AFP)

A German prosecutor played down hopes of an imminent breakthrough in the 16-year-old hunt for missing British girl Madeleine McCann on Thursday, as police wrapped up the search on the shoreline of a reservoir in Portugal and began pulling out.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters there was "nothing to report" after three days of searches. Portuguese police running the command center, already partially disassembled, declined to comment.

German authorities, who have named a suspect in the case, have been helping Portuguese crews comb the remote area inland from the Algarve coastal resort where McCann - then aged three - went missing during a family holiday in 2007.

"Of course there is a certain expectation, but it is not high," prosecutor Christian Wolters told Reuters. It was important to show that authorities were investigating the case, he added.

German prosecutors last year named Christian Brueckner an official suspect in McCann's disappearance. The convicted child abuser and drug dealer is behind bars in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same part of the Algarve.

Brueckner has denied any involvement in the disappearance. No body has been found.

"Of course we are still looking for the body," Wolters said. "We're not just looking for that, of course. There are other things too."

Any discovery of clothing could help the investigation, he said. "A lot is conceivable."

According to Wolters, authorities had yet to call time on the search, but witnesses said British police who assisted their Portuguese and German counterparts at the reservoir had left by early Thursday afternoon and then German investigators packed up their tents at a camp on a hill.

A tractor-mounted tree-cutter deployed earlier has also been removed and Portuguese police started disassembling the command center's two large blue tents.

Sources said any samples collected would be analyzed in Germany.



Heat Wave in Greece Halts Visits to Acropolis

Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
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Heat Wave in Greece Halts Visits to Acropolis

Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS

Authorities in Athens announced on Wednesday the closure of the Acropolis for five hours due to heat wave temperatures that also prompted many schools to close.
The ancient site in the Greek capital — which drew nearly 4 million visitors last year — was closed from midday till 5 p.m. as the temperature was set to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), The Associated Press reported.
Elementary schools and preschool classes were also canceled in parts of southern and central Greece where the temperatures were highest.
City authorities announced that garbage collection would also be halted for several hours Wednesday and that seven air-conditioned spaces would be opened to the public. Drones with thermal cameras were being used in Athens to coordinate the public health response, officials said.
Cooler weather is expected late Friday.

Greece is one of the most climate-impacted countries in Europe. Last year, rising temperatures fuelled deadly wildfires and erratic rains caused some of the worst flooding on record, both of which damaged crops and livelihoods.
Last winter was the hottest on record and rainfall was low, creating the conditions for more fires, scientists say.
Similar conditions were seen last year across much of southern Europe, including Portugal, France, Spain and Italy where fires caused dozens of deaths.
In Greece, fires began earlier than expected this year, including one in March.