60 Tourists rescued in Peru after storm on Lake Titicaca

Some 60 tourists left stranded for several hours on Taquile, one of the islands in Lake Titicaca, were rescued in the early hours Tuesday by the Peruvian navy following a storm with winds of up to 60 kph (37 mph), officials said.

The naval commander, Capt. Juan Jose Gonzalez, said on RPP Noticias radio that foreign and Peruvian tourists were being returned in patrol boats to the city of Puno near the Bolivian border.

The tourists had been stranded on Taquile Island since 2:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, a misfortune reported over the phone to RPP Noticias by a tourist named Susan Fernandez.

Capt. Gonzalez regretted that the weather report and recommended safety measures were not communicated to the tourists in time.

He said that because of the storm with strong winds and high waves on the lake, the navy had banned boats from sailing back from the island to the city of Puno.

He said, however, that Taquile Island is safe and has tourist inns capable of offering all necessary comforts and services for the people who stay there.

Lake Titicaca, which is shared by Peru and Bolivia, is the highest navigable lake in the world at an altitude of 3,612 meters (11,842 feet) above sea level, and covers and area of 8,562 sq. kilometers (3,305 sq. miles). EFE