Latin America & Caribbean

Spanish potholer rescued after 12 days trapped in Peru cave

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Media captionCecilio Lopez Sanchez and his rescuers posed for a photograph before he was airlifted to hospital

A Spanish caver has been freed after being trapped in a 400m deep cave in Peru for 12 days.

Cecilio Lopez Sanchez was hoisted out of the cave near Chachapoyas in north-eastern Peru on Tuesday.

Mr Sanchez, a native of Madrid, suffered spinal injuries after an accident in the cave almost two weeks ago.

He was airlifted to hospital in the Peruvian capital Lima, where police say he is in a stable condition.

More than 100 rescue workers cheered as Mr Sanchez was lifted out of the cave after a painstaking operation.

Many of them had travelled from Spain to take part in the rescue.

The operation involved winching Mr Sanchez out of the cave on a stretcher.

Heavy winds, rain and cold temperatures complicated the rescue attempt.

He was airlifted by a Peruvian air force helicopter to a nearby airfield, then flown to Lima for treatment.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Doctors said Mr Sanchez was in a stable condition after almost two weeks trapped underground
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Fellow cavers from Spain, Mexico, France and Peru gathered to help in any way they could
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A Peruvian Air Force helicopter was on standby to take Mr Sanchez to hospital
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The already-difficult operation was made harder by heavy winds and rain

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