Eight German tourists have been trapped since Sunday on Masca beach in Tenerife due to severe weather conditions. The visitors had climbed down a steep ravine to get to the beach, but strong winds and heavy rain made it impossible to either scale back up or take a boat. The hikers alerted authorities to their situation at 6:30pm and asked to be rescued.
900 tourists were forced to stay another night on the island
A group of firefighters, Civil Guard mountaineers and members of the Red Cross was sent to the ravine to work out the logistics of the rescue mission. The team ruled out evacuation by foot; sea conditions were also too rough for a boat rescue and helicopters are unable to fly at night. Rescuers were hoping to reach the tourists on Monday by boat.
“We hope that the sea gives us a break today, so that we can rescue the tourists from Masca by sea, but we haven’t ruled out using a helicopter,” José Antonio Valbuena, the Tenerife environment councilor told a local radio station.
The German tourists reported that they are well and were able to spend the night in a large cave with a local shepherd.
The Masca beach is the second-most visited natural wonder in Tenerife after the Teide volcano. The path to the beach is a challenging three-hour descent down a single track. To avoid returning up the same way, visitors typically take a boat or kayak back to the port of Los Gigantes.
The weather conditions have already caused more than 200 incidents in the Canary Islands, including fallen trees, power outages and rock landslides.
Poor visibility forced both airports on the island to close, leading 61 flights to be diverted. Around 900 tourists were forced to stay an extra night because of the closure.
The dangerous weather conditions which hit Tenerife on Friday are expected to ease today but “intense rain and strong winds” are forecast to return on Wednesday, according to the Spanish meteorological agency Aemet.
English version by Melissa Kitson.