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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 April, 2004, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Tourists evacuated from Inca site
Local people mourn those swept away by the mudslide
Local people mourn those swept away by the mudslide
Peruvian authorities are using helicopters and buses to evacuate hundreds of tourists trapped by mudslides near the Machu Picchu ruins.

Officials said a rail line between the historic Inca citadel and the city of Cuzco was also being repaired.

Rescue efforts are being led by President Alejandro Toledo who was in the region when the disaster struck.

So far one body has been recovered, while the search is continuing for 10 other people who are still missing.

I'm with the people of Aguas Calientes, seeing their anguish and sadness
Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo

Peru's civil defence organisation said tourists were being flown out of the area by helicopter.

Buses have also driven as close to the ruins as possible to pick up other visitors.

The train company, Peru Rail, told the Spanish news agency Efe that a track had been cleared of mud and rock.

The tourists would have to walk about a kilometre to reach the nearest place where they could board the train, a company spokesman said.

Meanwhile, local authorities say so far one person is known to have died - earlier reports said six had been killed.

An avalanche of rock and mud destroyed several homes in the town of Aguas Calientes, where one of the landslides occurred.

Machu Picchu
The ancient Inca citadel is the region's biggest tourist attraction

The other slide, at the entrance to Machu Picchu, fell on part of the railway line that carries tourists to and from the ancient citadel, 2,400m (7,782ft) high in the Andes.

No tourists were hurt or missing, officials said.

Mr Toledo, who was making a TV travel programme about Peru, lent his helicopter for the rescue effort.

Some 400,000 people visit Peru's most famous tourist attraction every year.

The 15th century fortress, thought to have been built by the great Inca ruler Pachacutec, was rediscovered in 1911.

Peru's Toledo embraces Inca roots
30 Jul 01  |  Americas

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