Man lost in Andes found alive 4 months later

Updated 15 September 2013
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Man lost in Andes found alive 4 months later

BUENOS AIRES: Argentinean authorities have rescued a 58-year-old Uruguayan man who had been lost in the Andes mountains since May.
Raul Gomez Cincunegui was spotted at the Sardina mountain shelter on Sunday, at an altitude of some 4,500 meters (nearly 15,000 feet) in the Los Patos Sur valley.
Police then transferred him by helicopter to a hospital in the eponymous capital of western San Juan province.
“It’s a miracle,” San Juan Governor Jose Luis Gioja said.
Rawson Hospital chief of operations Victor Olmos said Gomez was recovering in the intensive care unit but was “only dehydrated” and otherwise in good health. He also had signs of malnutrition.
Gomez survived feeding on sugar and raisins he had with him, as well as food stored in mountain shelters, according to a police report.
“I still cannot believe it. He came here and spoke by phone with his wife, his mother and daughter. He was very excited, though exhausted,” said Gioja.
Gomez had been reported missing in May while he traveled by motorcycle from Uruguay to Chile. There, his motorcycle broke down so he decided to cross the Andes on foot.
He said he became disoriented after heavy snowfall and was left stranded at an altitude of 4,000 meters.
A search for Gomez was called off in July due to heavy snowstorms.
Gomez, who has a history of heart and respiratory problems, ventured across the mountain range after crossings for hikers were closed on April 30.
His case recalled the Andes flight disaster of 1972, when a charter plane carrying members of the Old Christians rugby team of Uruguay crashed in the Andes.
The accident left 29 dead — some due to the crash and others due to an avalanche — and the 16 survivors were rescued alive after spending 72 days stranded in the harsh, high-altitude mountain conditions.
Their ordeal was made into film and television shows, including the 1993 feature “Alive.”


Rickshaw pullers fade from India’s streets

Updated 27 April 2018
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Rickshaw pullers fade from India’s streets

KOLKATA: Mohammad Maqbool Ansari puffs and sweats as he pulls his rickshaw through Kolkata’s teeming streets, a veteran of a gruelling trade long outlawed in most parts of the world and slowly fading from India too.
Kolkata is one of the last places on earth where pulled rickshaws still feature in daily life, but Ansari is among a dying breed still eking a living from this back-breaking labor.
The 62-year-old has been pulling rickshaws for nearly four decades, hauling cargo and passengers by hand in drenching monsoon rains and stifling heat that envelops India’s heaving eastern metropolis.
Their numbers are declining as pulled rickshaws are relegated to history, usurped by tuk tuks, Kolkata’s signature yellow taxis and modern conveniences like Uber.
Ansari cannot imagine life for Kolkata’s thousands of rickshaw-wallahs if the job ceased to exist.
“If we don’t do it, how will we survive? We can’t read or write. We can’t do any other work. Once you start, that’s it. This is our life,” he tells AFP.
Sweating profusely on a searing hot day, his singlet soaked and face dripping, Ansari skilfully weaves his rickshaw through crowded markets and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Wearing simple shoes and a chequered sarong, the only real giveaway of his age is his long beard, snow white and frizzy, and a face weathered from a lifetime plying this disappearing trade.
Twenty minutes later, he stops, wiping his face on a rag. The passenger offers him a glass of water — a rare blessing — and hands a note over.
“When it’s hot, for a trip that costs 50 rupees ($0.75) I’ll ask for an extra 10 rupees. Some will give, some don’t,” he said.
“But I’m happy with being a rickshaw puller. I’m able to feed myself and my family.”