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Uruguayan who survived months in Andes fled sex-abuse accusation: prosecutor

Raul Fernando Gomez Circunegui, 58, is carried to a helicopter by rescuers on Sunday. Reuters

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - An emaciated 58-year-old Uruguayan man found alive four months after disappearing in the remote Andes Mountains had fled Chile after accusations he sexually abused a minor, according to prosecutors.

Raul Fernando Gomez Circunegui, who reportedly survived the brutal Andean winter eating rats, raisins and leftover supplies in a shelter, is accused of abusing an 8-year-old in the poor neighborhood of Cerro Navia in Santiago.

Raul Fernando Gomez Circunegui, 58, is seen seated in a helicopter after being rescued from the remote Andes Mountains on Sunday. Handout / Reuters

A Santiago branch of the prosecutor's office put Gomez under investigation in April and banned him from leaving the country.

But Gomez, a plumber, reportedly set out in May to cross the mountains from Chile to Argentina on foot but lost his way during a snowstorm.

Argentine officials from the northwestern province of San Juan on Sunday stumbled upon Gomez in a shelter 9,318 feet above sea level when they traveled there to record snow levels. He has given no details about his trek but reportedly lost 44 pounds during the ordeal and is dehydrated.

"(He) sought to evade justice," the Chilean prosecutor's office said in a statement on its website. The prosecutor is now asking Argentine authorities to extradite Gomez to Chile.

His daughter Paula Gomez has rebutted the accusations.

"He was being looked for because he disappeared, not for any other reason," she said.