Mudslides in Peru kill 4, strand Machu Picchu tourists

Torrential rains and mudslides in Peru have killed four people and stranded some 2,000 tourists visiting the ancient Machu Picchu ruins, authorities said.

Mudslides in Peru kill 4, strand Machu Picchu tourists

Torrential rains and mudslides in Peru have killed four people and stranded some 2,000 tourists visiting the ancient Machu Picchu ruins, authorities said on Tuesday.

The unusually intense rains caused mudslides that forced the only company that runs trains between the Inca ruins and the nearby city of Cusco to suspend services.

The government has declared a state of emergency in the area and rescue teams are using helicopters to carry the stranded holidaymakers to safety.

"We'll take quick and immediate action. Five helicopters are available to evacuate the close to 2,000 tourists stranded at Machu Picchu," said Prime Minister Javier Velasquez, who visited the area on Tuesday.

Machu Picchu, located some 680 miles (1,100 km) southeast of Lima is Peru's top tourist destination and roughly a million people visit the site each year.

Apart from the train, the only way to reach the ancient Incan fortress is to walk for four days through the mountains.

An Argentine tourist and a Peruvian guide were killed in separate mudslides, the RPP radio station reported.

Peru's Trade and Tourism Minister Martin Perez has said the rains, which local authorities said caused two other deaths over the weekend, are the heaviest in the area in about 15 years.

Reuters
Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2010, 22:04
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