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Five Tourists Injured in Train Accident Near Macchu Pichu

June 21, 1991

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ A rail car carrying a group of foreign business leaders, journalists and others to the Inca citadel of Macchu Pichu slammed head-on Thursday into a passenger train, slightly injuring 12 people, officials said.

The group had been invited by the United Nations to tour Peru’s natural and archaeological attractions, said Liliana Ubriria, spokeswoman for the state tourist agency Foptur.

Those injured included three Britons, Lawrence Bloom, head of the Intercontinental hotel chain; Henry Hay, president of the U.N. Arts Council, and Robert Epstone, head of the C. Itoh company; Australian consultant Mary Anne Madden and Italian agricultural investor Brando Crespi.

Seven Peruvian train engineers and policemen also were slightly injured, Mrs. Ubiria said.

The single rail car the group was riding in apparently had been heading the wrong way when it crashed into a local train 75 miles north of Cuzco, Mrs. Ubiria said.

She said the passengers were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Cuzco, which is 350 miles southeast of Lima. Mrs. Ubiria said the passengers had suffered bruises, cuts and scrapes, but no serious injuries were reported.

The tour group included CNN vice-president Barbara Pyle; television actress Marcia Wolfe; French ministry official Anne Secret; British botanist and television presenter David Bellamy; British BBC radio and television director Alex Kirby; National Geographic magazine photographer Simone Chaput; British Conservation Foundation director David Shreeve; British caricaturist Ralph Steadman; and Shigeki Wakayama, correspondent for the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, Mrs. Ubiria said.

It was the fourth major incident on the Cuzco-Macchu Pichu line in five years. The others were:

-Dec. 1, 1988. Anna Cucci, wife of the mayor of Jersey City, N.J., and Doris Chacon, wife of the mayor of Cuzco, were killed when their train derailed. Their husbands, Anthony Cucci and Carlos Chacon, were seriously injured. Police later said the line had been sabotaged by Maoist Shining Path guerrillas.

-Dec. 2, 1987. A train carrying 300 passengers derailed near Cuzco. No serious injuries were reported.

-June 25, 1986. Shining Path rebels bombed a train near Macchu Pichu, killing seven foreign tourists, including an American citizen.

The Cuzco-Maccu Pichu train used to carry hundreds of tourists a day to the Inca city. But travel agencies say tourism has dropped by up to 80 percent since last year due to terrorism, theft and a cholera epidemic which has killed some 1,700 people since January.