Spanish cave survivor returns home

Image of passengers at the airport. Credit: IR Stone/Shutterstock

JUAN BOLIVAR, the Spanish caver trapped for days in a ravine in Morocco along with two companions who died there, flew home Tuesday as the Spanish government faced calls to explain why the climbers were not rescued sooner.

Juan Bolivar, identified by the Spanish government as a 27-year-old policeman, landed at Cuatro Vientos airport southwest of Madrid just before 5pm, an Interior Ministry source told AFP.

Bolivar was stretchered from the ravine in the High Atlas Mountains on Sunday, then taken to a hospital in Ouarzazate in southern Morocco, from where he departed Tuesday on a Spanish government plane.

Moroccan officials on Monday declared him to be in good health. After landing in Spain he headed to his home city of Granada, the ministry said.

His two companions, 41-year-old lawyer Gustavo Virues and another policeman, Jose Antonio Martinez, 41, died while waiting to be rescued from the ravine hundreds of metres deep, officials said.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry could not confirm on Tuesday when the bodies of the other cavers in the accident would be repatriated.

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