Tourists airlifted out of Machu Picchu

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Tourists airlifted out of Machu Picchu

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Rescue helicopters have ferried the last of about 3,700 tourists to safety after floods and mudslides destroyed road and rail links near the Inca ruins of Maccha Picchu in Peru.

Five people died when torrential rains triggered landslides around the World Heritage site almost a week ago.

The elderly and women and children were first to be airlifted out.

Authorities say Machu Picchu will remain closed for weeks until the government can repair roads and railway tracks.

The Urumbamba River has been turned into a raging torrent carrying away anything in its path. Officials say roughly 4,600 homes and several bridges have been destroyed.

Machu Picchu – 1,100 kilometres southeast of the Peruvian capital Lima – was built in the mid 15th Century.

Situated 2,400 metres above sea level, the site attracts as many as a million tourists every year.

The ruins are unlikely to be accessible to outsiders for at least two months.