Weather, Overflow of Tourists Hamper Machu Picchu Rescue

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Helicopters are struggling to bring out Machu Picchu tourists stranded by mudslides, yet new arrivals are swelling the numbers of those hunkered down in villages near the Inca citadel, complaining of a lack of food, water and accommodations.

Conditions are deteriorating for the 1,500 travelers still stranded four days after slides cut a railway that is the only route to and from the hard-to-reach area atop an Andean mountain ridge. Officials had talked of having the rail route restored and the tourists out by Tuesday, but authorities now say they will likely need two or three more days.

Helicopter rescue efforts have been hampered by rain. And the numbers needing help have been swollen by the steady arrival of more tourists to the evacuation area as people complete treks on the Inca trail that ends at Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Inca fortress 8,000-feet high in the Andes.

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