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Andes Survivor 'Wanted On Child Sex Charges'
A man who ate rats, owls and mice to survive four months in the Andes is wanted by police on child sex allegations, it has emerged.
Uruguayan plumber Raul Gomez made headlines across the world when he was rescued from the snow-covered peaks by an Argentinian helicopter crew on Sunday.
Gomez had travelled to Argentina and Chile to meet up with fellow motorcyclists and said he decided to cross back over the mountains on foot in May after his bike broke down.
But an official in the Chilean prosecutor's office in Santiago said the 58-year-old was wanted for investigation of child sex abuse claims.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the warrant was issued for his arrest on April 22.
In Gomez's hometown of Bella Union, Uruguay, his mother, Irma Cincunegui, said she did not believe the allegations.
"Raul is a good, hard-working man," she said.
"Everybody knows him in Bella Union, where he never had troubles with anybody."
She called her son "a warrior", and said she "always thought that he was alive".
Asked why he had risked crossing such a high-altitude frontier with winter coming and hardly any equipment or supplies, she said: "Because he's brave, and daring.
"Every vacation he would grab his motorcycle and take off on an adventure. Once he took his wife on the bike to Chile, but she said she would never make one of those trips again."
Gomez was discovered at the Ingeniero Sardina refuge, a small cabin 14,760ft (4,500m) above sea level, by a pilot and two state water experts who had flown up to measure snow levels.
He told them he took shelter in the refuge after getting disoriented by the Southern Hemisphere's winter snowstorms.
He said that when his small amount of food had run out, he ate other meagre supplies mountaineers had left in the refuge - before surviving by eating small animals he had captured.
On Monday, Gomez was joined by his two daughters and wife in the intensive care unit of the hospital in San Juan province.
Hospital Rawson spokesman Rodrigo Belert said: "He lost 20kg (45lb). He apparently fed himself with mice and an owl or two.
"He's recuperating well and shows no sign of serious organ damage, but he's recovering from very severe malnutrition."
The Chilean attorney general's office must now consider whether to seek his extradition once he is healthy enough to travel again.