Tourists fly out as Machu Picchu begins isolation

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The last young backpackers flew away from Machu Picchu as clouds closed in again Friday, leaving Peru to grapple with flood damage that will close its top tourist site for weeks, or even months.

Torrential rains caused mudslides and swelled the Urubamba River on Sunday, stripping away long sections of the railway that is the only transportation in and out of the area around the Inca citadel. The road to the ruins from this village at the end of the train line also washed away.

Juan Garcia, director of the regional National Culture Institute, which administers the Machu Picchu park, told the AP that the site will stay closed until train service resumes. But he added that officials will consider opening the park to travelers who hike in after the first rail section is repaired in three weeks.

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