Hundreds of tourists are to spend a fourth day stranded without food or shelter on Peru’s Inca trail to Machu Picchu following mudslides in which a tourist and a local guide were killed.
About 1,500 remain in villages near the Inca citadel, with more arriving by foot after mudslides blocked the railway to Cuzco, which is the only way in or out of the Machu Picchu area. It could take three days to fix, whilst heavy rain is hampering helicopter rescues.
Officials had hoped to reopen the railway and rescue tourists yesterday, but now say they will need two or three more days.
Helicopter have evacuated more than 1,000 tourists over the last two days, but 250 more arrived yesterday and more were expected today. Authorities closed the Inca trail following the mudslide, but many who started the four-day trek before will arrive in the coming days.
“It’s worrisome. We didn’t think it would take this long,” said tourism minister Martin Perezy. “We can evacuate 120 tourists per hour, now the only thing we need is for the climate to help us out a little bit.”
Hernet Moscoso, Cuzco government spokesman confirmed an Argentine tourist and a Peruvian guide were killed in their tents when a slope gave way and their tents were crushed. Three other tourists were injured.
Those stranded include about 400 American tourists, 700 Argentines, 309 Chileans and 30 Uruguayans, according to those countries’ embassies in Lima.