Latin America & Caribbean

Andes survivor Raul Gomez accused of child sex abuse

A Uruguayan man rescued from a mountain shelter in the Andes after going missing while trying to cross from Chile to Argentina is facing child sex abuse charges in Chile, officials say.

Raul Gomez Cincunegui, 58, was found emaciated in a remote mountain shelter by Argentine officials on Sunday.

He had survived for four months by eating leftover supplies and whatever else he could catch, including rats.

A prosecutor has asked for his extradition to Chile.

Mr Gomez was on trial in Chile for allegedly abusing an eight-year-old boy and had been ordered not to leave the country.

On Sunday, Argentine officials from the north-western province of San Juan stumbled across him after arriving in the area near the shelter by helicopter to record snow levels.

'Miracle survival'

An enfeebled Mr Gomez was able to open the shelter's door and alert the crew to his presence.

He was taken to hospital in an emaciated and dehydrated state, but doctors said he was expected to make a full recovery. He is reported to have lost 20kg (44lb) during his four months in the shelter.

Mr Gomez told his rescuers he got lost in snowstorms after his motorbike broke down.

He had no previous mountaineering experience and did not give an explanation as to why he wanted to cross the Andes.

His rescue was described as "a miracle" by San Juan Governor Jose Luis Gioja.

Officials in Chile said an arrest warrant for Mr Gomez was issued in July after he missed a court appearance.

Mr Gomez's mother told the Associated Press news agency she did not believe the allegations against him.

"Raul is a good, hard-working man," she said.

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