16 missing in Venezuela found ‘safe and sound’




Agents from the Criminal and Penal Investigations Corps (CICP) use binoculars and drones to scan the mountains as they participate in a search operation of nearly two dozen people reported missing after going on a religious retreat in the mountainous area of La Grita, Tachira state, Venezuela, on September 7, 2022.  (Photo by AFP)

SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (AFP) — A group of 16 people who went missing after setting off on a religious retreat in Venezuela two weeks ago were found “safe and sound,” officials said Thursday.

The group had not been heard from since departing on August 22 for what officials described as a religious retreat in the town of La Grita in western Tachira province.

The 16 people “were located in perfect health, they were praying at a spiritual retreat,” Tachira governor Freddy Bernal said in an audio message shared with the press. “They are safe and sound.”

The group was discovered Thursday night in the neighboring state of Merida, Bernal said, without giving further details.

More than 30 search and rescue specialists have been looking for the missing people, helped by drones, sniffer dogs, locals from the mountainous area as well as family members.

© Agence France-Presse



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