Spanish troops deployed to help motorists stranded by snowstorm

MADRID (REUTERS) – Troops rescued trapped drivers from their vehicles on Saturday (Jan 9) as heavy snowfall from Storm Filomena caused travel chaos across Spain and Madrid airport remained closed.

“Owing to the forecast of snow and for security, Madrid Barajas airport will remain closed throughout Saturday,” Aena , which controls the country’s airports, said in a tweet.

The airport was closed on Friday night after the rare blizzard made flying impossible. At least 50 flights to Madrid, Malaga, Tenerife and Ceuta, a Spanish territory in north Africa, were cancelled, Aena said.

Soldiers worked to reach drivers stranded for hours on roads around Madrid.

“We continue the rescue of vehicles on the A4, A5, M40 and M607,” tweeted the Unit for Military Emergencies, which deployed 147 soldiers.

High-speed rail services between Madrid and the south-eastern cities of Alicante and Valencia were suspended, as were bus services in Madrid, the city council said on Saturday.

Madrid and four other regions were on red alert on Saturday as more heavy snowfalls were forecast, the State Meteorological Agency said.

Madrid city council called on people to stay at home.

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