Argentina ghost town emerges from water

Epecuen, a village that was submerged underwater in Argentina. Picture: AP

Epecuen, a village that was submerged underwater in Argentina. Picture: AP

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A GHOST town that spent a quarter of a century under water has re-emerged in the Argentine farmlands southwest of Buenos Aires.

Epecuen was once a bustling lakeside resort, where 1,500 people served 20,000 tourists a season. During Argentina’s golden age, the same trains that carried grain to the outside world brought visitors from the capital to relax in Epecuen’s saltwater baths and spas.

Then a particularly heavy rainstorm followed a series of wet winters, and the lake overflowed its banks on Nov. 10, 1985. Water burst through a retaining wall and spilled into the lakeside streets. People fled with what they could, and within days their homes were submerged under nearly 10 meters (33 feet) of corrosive saltwater.

The town hasn’t been rebuilt, but it has become a tourist destination again, for people willing to drive at least six hours from Buenos Aires to get here, along 340 miles (550 kilometers) of narrow country roads.

People come to see the rusted hulks of automobiles and furniture, crumbled homes and broken appliances. They climb staircases that lead nowhere, and wander through a graveyard where the water toppled headstones and exposed tombs to the elements.

Click the link to see more incredible images (images © AP).

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