October 13, 2005

Peru Machu Picchu mudslides strand 3,200 tourists

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Mudslides caused by heavy rains in
Peru's southern Andes stranded 3,200 tourists at the Machu
Picchu Inca citadel on Thursday as mud and rocks blocked the
railway in and out of the site, train operators said.

The nationalities of the tourists were not immediately
known, but no one was thought to be injured, Peru Rail
spokeswoman Joanna Boyen said.

Peru Rail said it was working to clear the railway line and
planned to return tourists to the nearby city of Cuzco via a
minor road on Thursday.

Mudslides are relatively common in Peru's rainy season,
which runs from September to February.

Six people were killed in April last year by mudslides
caused by unusually intense rains in Machu Picchu Pueblo, the
village which is the starting point for the 500,000 tourists
who visit the Inca citadel every year.

South American's best-known archeological site -- the ruins
of an entire city, including temples -- was probably the
sanctuary of the great Inca emperor Pachacutec at the heart of
the Inca empire and is perched on a mountain saddle at 8,400
feet above sea level.