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German tourists trapped overnight in Tenerife cave as Canary Islands hit by storms

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German tourists trapped overnight in Tenerife cave as Canary Islands hit by storms
Eight tourists were trapped overnight on Masca beach in Tenerife. Photo: Javier Sanchez Portero / Flickr
12:16 CET+01:00
Eight German tourists were trapped overnight on a remote beach in Tenerife as the island was hit by severe storms, and were forced to sleep in a cave.

The tourists had used a steep ravine to reach the secluded Masca beach where they spent the day but when torrential wind and gale force winds closed in, the group found they were unable to climb back up.

They raised the alarm at 6.30pm on Sunday and told emergency services that they were trapped.

A rescue team made up of firefighters, Civil Guard mountain search and rescue and Red Cross volunteers were unable reach them as the bad weather ruled out a rescue by boat and helicopter.

Any attempt to climb down the ravine during torrential rain and with high winds was also deemed too dangerous so the stricken group were forced to seek refuge overnight in a cave which they were guided to by a local shepherd, according to reports in Canary Islands media.

“It was safer to leave them there overnight than run the risk of a dangerous rescue by the emergency services,” explained  Nieves Lady Barreto, the islands' minister for territorial policy, sustainability and safety on Monday morning.

“The rescue will take place later on Monday by sea in one of the boats used to collect tourist groups,” she said.

Rescuers were confident that they could reach the stranded tourists by sea on Monday morning when the weather conditions are set to improve.

Extreme weather conditions hit the Canary Islands over the weekend causing floods, landslides and power cuts as well as flight cancellations and diversions.

Authorities reported dealing with more than 200 emergency incidents.

The hike to Playa de Masca is a popular day trip for the more adventurous visitor to Tenerife involving a two hour scramble down  a canyon to a pebbly beach.

Most walk downhill and after spending a few hours on the beach arrange to be collected by boat or kayak to return to their resort. 

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