BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine authorities have recovered a body thought to be a Spanish climber who disappeared three decades ago in the mountainous western part of the country.
The body was spotted by a person walking on a glacier near the town of Potrerillos in the Andean province of Mendoza. Authorities are using DNA testing to confirm the identity, a rescuer told Reuters on Friday.
"At some point he lost his footing or fell, or a wind blew him and he fell into the glacier," said Deputy Commissioner Alejandro Alonso, a member of the Mendoza police rescue patrol that participated in the recovery.
The officer said the body had a backpack with documentation but that he could not reveal more information because the verification of the person's identity was in the hands of scientific police, using DNA samples of relatives.
"He wore mountain clothes, a Spanish brand of equipment, and the clothes he wore are in line with those times. That's the only thing I can say," Alonso said. "The body had been inside the glacier for a long time."
The discovery was made far from normal routes used by mountaineers attracted by the natural beauty of the region at the foot of the Andes, Alonso said.
Mendoza is one of the main tourist destinations in Argentina. In the first quarter of 2019 almost 36,000 visitors arrived at the province's international airport, an annual increase of around 50%, according to official statistics.
Along with the provinces of San Juan and San Luis, Mendoza forms the Argentine region of Cuyo, known for its mountainous landscapes, its wineries and vineyards and for its wide range of extreme sports on offer.
(Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco and Gabriel Burin; Writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Grant McCool)