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Snowstorm strands 6,100 trucks in Andes

Heavy snow in the Andes left 6,100 trucks stuck on Saturday along the main mountain pass between Argentina and Chile, a transportation official said.
/ Source: Reuters

Heavy snow in the Andes left 6,100 trucks stuck on Saturday along the main mountain pass between Argentina and Chile, a transportation official said.

The Christ the Redeemer pass, which at its highest point rises close to 12,500 feet above sea level, has been closed to heavy vehicles for four days and snow kept falling on Saturday.

“The trucks can’t cross because the storm is still going on. We’re only allowing through a few cars with chains,” said Ernesto Arriaga, spokesman for Argentina’s highway department.

“On the Argentine side there are about 3,300 trucks stuck along the pass, but there are another 2,800 on the Chilean side,” he said.

The steep highway between the cities of Mendoza, Argentina, and Los Andes, Chile, passes beneath Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas.

It is a major trade route for Asian goods that enter the region through Chile’s Pacific ports, and for Argentine and Brazilian products exported through the same ports.

There are 16 mountain passes along the 2,500 mile (4,000 km) Argentine-Chilean border, but only a few are paved. Highway officials suggested truckers use the Jama pass in the north, or the Cardenal Samore pass in the south.