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January 29, 2010
Machu Picchu evacuation
MACHU PICCHU PUEBLO, Peru (AP) -- Skies cleared over the fabled Machu Picchu citadel Thursday, speeding the evacuation of thousands of stranded tourists, many of whom were left to eat from communal pots and sleep outdoors after flooding and mudslides cut access to the area. Helicopters had taken 700 people by mid-afternoon from the remote village, the closest to the ancient Inca ruins 8,000 feet up in the Andes mountains. About 2,000 travelers were trapped in the town for days, strapping resources and testing travelers' patience. "It's been an adventure, a bit more than we bargained for," Karel Schultz, 46, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., told the Associated Press as she waited to be airlifted out. Authorities say if the weather holds, they may be able to have all tourists out by Saturday. (20 images)

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The overflowing Urubamba river passes next to the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. Heavy rains and mudslides in Peru have blocked the train route to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, leaving nearly 2,000 tourists stranded. AP / Martin Mejia


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A man walks near the damaged train tracks right next to the Urubamba river in the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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Workers repair the train tracks in the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28.AP / Martin Mejia



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Foreign tourists help to make a barrage to contain the waters of the overflowed Vilcanota river in Aguas Calientes, near the Machu Picchu aechaeological site, Peru on Jan. 28. AFP / Getty Images



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A man points to a house that was destroyed by the flooding of the Vilcanota river in the village of Urubamba, near Machu Picchu archaeological site, in Cuzco department, Peru on Jan. 28. AFP / Getty Images



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Foreign tourist help to fill sand bags to try to contain floodwaters next to the Urubamba river in the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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Foreign tourists help to place sand bags to contain floodwaters next to the Urubamba river in the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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Foreign tourist help to fill sand bags to try to contain floodwaters of the Vilcanota river in Cusco, near the Machu Picchu archeological site on Jan. 28. AFP / Getty Images



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Foreign tourist await to be evacuated from Aguas Calientes, near Machu Picchu aechaeological site in Cuzco region, Peru on Jan. 28. AFP / Getty Images



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Peruvian soldiers control foreign tourists trying to get evacuated from the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru, Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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A Japanese tourist argues with a Peruvian policeman in the line of foreign tourists trying to get evacuated from the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru, Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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A Brazilian tourist waves from a window of the train where he slept while waiting to be evacuated from the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru, Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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Japanese tourists wait in line to be evacuated by helicopter from the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. . AP / Martin Mejia



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Tourists from Argentina wave before being evacuated by Peruvian Army helicopters from the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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Foreign tourists are evacuated from the village of Aguas Calientes, near the Machu Picchu aechaeological site, Peru on Jan. 28,. AFP / Getty Images



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Foreign tourists evacuate the Machu Picchu archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28.AP / Martin Mejia



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Tourists wait to be evacuated in helicopter from the Machu Picchu Pueblo archeological site in Cuzco, Peru Thursday, Jan. 28. AP / Martin Mejia



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Foreign tourists are evacuated aboard an Mi-8 military helicopter from the village of Aguas Calientes, near the Machu Picchu archaeological site, Peru on Jan. 28. AFP / Getty Images



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A foreing tourist looks through the porthole of the Mi-8 military helicopter aboard which he is being evacuated from the village of Aguas Calientes, near the Machu Picchu aechaeological site, Peru on Jan. 28. AFP / Getty Images



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Peruvian soldiers help a foreign tourist after being evacuated by rescue helicopters from Machu Picchu Pueblo in Cuzco, Peru, Wednesday, Jan. 27. AP / Martin Mejia



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