A picturesque hike on Peru’s iconic Vinicunca mountain, also known as the Rainbow Mountain, turned deadly on Sunday afternoon when a lightning strike claimed the life of a local tour guide and injured six French tourists.

Located in the heart of the Andes mountains, Vinicunca has become a major tourist attraction in recent years. It is renowned for its vibrant, multicoloured slopes caused by sediment deposits over millions of years.

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The mountain, reaching over 5,200 meters above sea level, offers breathtaking views but also presents inherent risks, especially during unpredictable weather conditions.

According to a police statement released on Monday, the group of French tourists, aged between 22 and 40, were enjoying their hike when a sudden lightning strike struck.

The tour guide, whose identity has not been released, tragically perished in the incident. The injured tourists sustained burns and various injuries and were promptly transported to a hospital in the nearby city of Cusco for treatment.

This unfortunate event highlights the potential dangers associated with high-altitude hikes, particularly during thunderstorms.

While the exact cause of the lightning strike remains unclear, authorities urge tourists to prioritize safety measures when embarking on such adventures.

“This is a stark reminder of the importance of checking weather forecasts before heading out on hikes, especially in high-altitude areas,” said a Peruvian National Park Service spokesperson.

“Tour guides play a crucial role in ensuring tourist safety, and we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased guide.”

The incident marks the fifth lightning-related fatality in the Peruvian Andes this year, underlining the need for increased awareness and caution among trekkers.

Experts recommend proper planning, including checking weather forecasts, carrying appropriate gear like rain jackets and sturdy footwear, and maintaining a safe distance from exposed areas during thunderstorms.

Vinicunca’s growing popularity has sparked discussions about implementing stricter safety protocols for high-altitude hikes. Some tour operators are advocating for mandatory weather briefings and the use of specialized equipment like lightning detectors.

The Rainbow Mountain tragedy serves as a cautionary tale, reminding tourists and tour operators of the inherent risks of mountain exploration.

As investigations into the incident continue, the focus remains on the swift recovery of the injured tourists and ensuring the safety of future visitors venturing onto the majestic slopes of Vinicunca.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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