LIMA, Peru (AP) – Rescuers were working Thursday to save an injured Spanish speleologist who has been trapped for a week about 400 metres (1,300 feet) underground in a cave in Peru’s remote Amazon region.
Cecilio Lopez was hurt when he fell five metres (16 feet) inside the Inti Machay cave in a ravine in Leimebamba district, 605 kilometres (376 miles) northeast of the capital, Lima.
Rescue coordinator James Apaestegui said a doctor had reached Lopez and found the well-known cave explorer had two damaged lumbar vertebrae that limit his movement.
“Cecilio Lopez is lying face up. He can move laterally but he cannot stand up,” said Apaestegui, who is a researcher at the Geophysical Institute of Peru and President of the Andino Caving Club.
Rescuers said they have been getting food, water and medicine to Lopez, but his extraction has been made difficult by the remoteness of the cave and the cavern itself, which narrows at places.
In this Tuesday Sept 23 photo released by the Chachapoyas Territory Police, a rescue worker stands outside the Inti Machay cave where Spanish citizen Cecilio Lopez Tercero is trapped in north-western Peru – AP
“He’s accompanied (by someone at all times), and is waiting for the stretcher to arrive to begin the evacuation,” Apaestegui said, adding that Lopez was in good spirits.
Foreign and Peruvian cavers are trying to rescue Lopez, including a large contingent from Spain.