Bodies of two Spanish cavers recovered, survivor heads home

7th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

The bodies of two Spanish cavers were transferred to a morgue Tuesday as a fellow climber who survived their plunge into a deep ravine in Morocco's High Atlas mountains headed home.

An AFP photographer said Spanish diplomats were present as the bodies of Gustavo Virues and Jose Antonio Martinez arrived at the morgue of Bugafer hospital in the southern city of Ouarzazate.

It was not immediately known when the two would be repatriated.

Fellow caver Juan Bolivar, hospitalised on Sunday night, left for the airport to be flown home and was reportedly in good condition.

Family and friends of the two cavers who died after being trapped for days in the ravine have criticised Rabat over the rescue effort.

Originally part of a team of nine cavers, the three men -- all experienced climbers -- split off from the others.

Their companions alerted authorities last Tuesday when they failed to arrive at the rendezvous point.

But they were only spotted alive on Saturday morning by Moroccan search teams in the commune of Tarmest, with heavy fog hindering the rescue, officials said.

The three men were members of the Mountaineering Federation of Andalusia, which accused Morocco of being slow to launch a rescue mission and delaying accepting a rescue mission organised by the other members of the group in the area.

Spanish public television station TVE, quoting Moroccan rescue workers, said one of the three had possibly slipped on a patch of ice, dragging the other two down with him as he fell to the depths of a 400-metre (1,320-foot) ravine in an area extremely difficult to reach.

© 2015 AFP

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