SF couple trapped in Peru as civil unrest continues after president's ouster

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Saturday, December 17, 2022
SF couple trapped in Peru while civil unrest continues
A San Francisco couple who went to Peru is now stranded, as civil unrest in the country has led to transportation being limited or shut down.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Diane Thao and Sal Mireles went to Peru last week to see one of the wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. However, while on their trip, massive country wide civil unrest broke out over the impeachment of the former President Pedro Castillo. The impeachment vote followed by authorities immediately arresting him. Now, civil unrest in the country has led to transportation being limited or shut down.

"We don't know what is going to happen and now we are getting the photos of the train tracks damaged," Thao said. "Now people are starting to freak out."

Mireles and Thao are staying in a small town near Machu Picchu which is near Cuzco, the major city in the region. They say the airport at Cuzco is shutdown.

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"The only way out is through Cuzco and to Lima to get back home to San Francisco," Thao said. "There is no other way to get to Lima without going through Cuzco, and that is where everything is scary because that airport has been shut down."

Plus with the train tracks broken, no supplies can get to where they are.

"The railway system is what transports the food into town along with medical supplies," Mireles said. "Since the railway system is damaged, there is nothing coming in or out."

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They said the U.S. embassy is looking into possibly getting them out via helicopter, but that wont happen until the airport at Cuzco reopens.

"Our point of contact with the U.S. embassy said 'I hope you guys are flexible and hopefully in a week by Christmas we should be able to get you guys out,'" Thao said. "But they also don't really know what is going to happen."

They said their hope right now is to ration their food and water supply in the event their evacuation takes a while.

"Our hotel said they can only serve eggs and coffee," Mireles said. "We are focusing on non-perishable items. Right now they say there are 800 registered tourists where we are, so it is 800 people that will be in panic mode in the next few days.

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