LIMA – A geologist who had been missing for nine days near Peru’s border with Ecuador was rescued and reported that his three companions apparently had died, El Comercio newspaper said Tuesday.
Manuel Herrera Peña, 25, was found by community guards and police in an abandoned house on the slopes of Cerro Negro, two hours from the village of Cabuyal, in Peru’s northern Piura region.
Herrera Peña was a member of an expedition mounted by the Chinese-owned Rio Blanco Copper mining firm, but which was reported missing on July 11.
The man said that he survived by “eating grasses and fruits from the mountain” and drinking water he found in ravines, while he walked for four days seeking help.
He said that two of his companions, topographer Orlando Pastrana Quezada, 36, and cook Segundo Tacure Saavedra, 28, died a week ago, adding that he doubted that communications specialist Aleida Davila Montes, 34, is still alive.
He said he was with Davila Montes until last Thursday, but he left her to find help because she “was very tired and in serious shape, without any strength.”
“The weather played havoc with us: it rained every day, it was cloudy, the sky clouded over and we became disoriented,” he told El Comercio.
The geologist was transported to the city of Piura in an air force helicopter and admitted to a hospital, where he gave more information about the area where his companions might be found.
The missing people had begun their expedition on July 4 through the mountains to reach a camp set up by Rio Blanco but abandoned six years ago and where they were intending to carry out topographic analysis.
Members of local peasant communities accompanied the expedition for the first two days to provide them with food, medicines and other amenities, but they split from the group on July 11 to seek help when they determined that they had gotten lost.
The people who had left the group for help arrived two days after that at the town of Portachuelos, where a group of peasants captured them and questioned them in a hostile manner but finally let them go late in the day.