Snow in Spain traps thousands of people in cars overnight
Spain Snow in Spain traps thousands of people in cars overnight
Thousands of people stuck on roads in Castile and LeÃ³n region are rescued by Spanish police and soldiers
Spanish police and soldiers have rescued thousands of people trapped on roads in the centre of the country after heavy snowfall forced them to spend Saturday night in their cars.
Hundreds of vehicles were caught in the snow on the AP-6 motorway in Castile and LeÃ³n and north-western parts of the Madrid region as people returned from Epiphany celebrations. Around 70 km (44 miles) of motorway between Madrid and nearby Segovia were affected, with some motorists trapped for up to 18 hours.
More than 150 members of the armyâs military emergencies unit (UME) were deployed early on Sunday to help Guardia Civil officers reach stranded motorists.
âThere are a lot of vehicles trapped on the AP-6 but weâre working bit by bit and kilometre by kilometre to get to all of them as soon as possible,â the UME tweeted.
By mid-morning, conditions had improved, making it easier for snowploughs and emergency workers to reach stranded drivers. Members of the Red Cross handed out hot drinks, blankets and high-energy food. The UME said that everyone had been rescued by lunchtime on Sunday and the road was due to be reopened by late afternoon.
Some of those trapped complained about the lack of information. Carlos TreviÃ±o and his wife spent 13 hours stuck in their car after trying to drive back to Madrid from Lugo in north-west Spain.
âThere are thousands of us here with no information,â he told El PaÃs by phone. âThereâs been nothing, absolutely nothing. Theyâre not telling us what theyâre doing on the radio or on the internet â" or whatâs going to happen to us. We havenât seen a snowplough for hours.â
The Guardia Civil advised anyone taking to the roads to plan their journey carefully and keep up to date with the latest advice and forecasts, while Spainâs directorate general of traffic called for caution and prudence in the face of the bad weather.
Opposition MPs have called on the infrastructure minister, ÃÃ±igo de la Serna, to appear in parliament to explain how the situation came about. De la Serna has promised an investigation and said questions will be asked of the company tasked with running the motorway.
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