THREE Spanish caving enthusiasts have gone missing in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains and intensive air and ground searches are underway to find them, according to local authorities and a Spanish diplomat.
The three men were part of a group of nine Spaniards who had travelled to an area outside Marrakesh, and who split up last Sunday to explore different caves, the sources said.
They were supposed to have met up on Monday or Tuesday, but when the three failed to do so their colleagues alerted the authorities.
The area in question includes peaks of around 4,000 metres that have been covered with snow from a heavy winter, and been subjected to a sudden rise in temperatures in recent days.
Zoubir Bouhour, head of the regional tourism organisation, said an extensive search had been launched, including the use of helicopters.
“But the geography of the region doesn’t help,” he said. “The terrain is rugged, and there is a lot of fog at the moment, and there are lots of cave entrances.”
One of their companions told Spanish radio Canal Sur the men may have been caught in a canyon by a flash flood caused by melting snow.
“We hope they are on a rock shelf waiting for the water levels to drop,” Jose Morillas said.
The radio station said the three men were all members of Spain’s Andalusian Federation of Mountaineering and were on Easter holidays.