The 58-year-old Uruguayan man who disappeared four months ago in the Andes mountains and was found alive in a mountain refuge nearly 3,000 metres above sea level turned from brave survivor to crime suspect after authorities revealed he was fleeing pedophilia charges on Monday. Chilean authorities requested his extradition after announcing that he had abused an eigh-year-old boy in Santiago. The man had first been accused in April, but an arrest warrant was issued in July after he missed a court hearing.
According to local media reports, Raúl Fernando Gómez Circunegui spent a rigorous winter and had to eat rats and raisins to survive.
The man reportedly got lost in May, when he was trying to cross the mountains from Chile to Argentine on foot after his motorcycle broke down. He called his wife on May 11 to tell her of his decision – that was the last time she heard of him for four months.
Circunegui was found by Argentinian officials from the north-western province of San Juan. He was dehydrated and had lost 20kg.
“The truth is that this is a miracle. We still can’t believe it,” San Juan governor Jose Luis Gioja told the local Diario de Cuyo newspaper.