Rescuers dug through snowdrifts 17 feet high outside the...


SARAJEVO, Yugoslavia -- Rescuers dug through snowdrifts 17 feet high outside the Yugoslav capital Sunday to reach 1,500 people trapped in cars by blizzards that have killed at least four people and disrupted the Winter Olympics.

More than 10,000 people have been rescued since blizzards driven by hurricane-force winds swept through Yugoslavia Thursday, wreaking havoc with air, rail and road traffic in most of the country, police said.


Snow fell for 60 hours in Sarajevo, site of the Winter Games, forcing repeated delays of the Alpine skiing events.

Raging snowstorms continued on the mountains Sunday and officials even admitted considering running the Olympics into overtime -- something which has not happened in 52 years.

More than 20,000 Yugoslavs, including civilian protection guards and troops, fought for three days to reach the 1,500 people trapped on a 6 -mile stretch of highway west of Belgrade by huge snowdrifts.

Rescuers used tractors, horses, bulldozers, snowplows, armored personnel carriers, tanks and helicopters to save those stranded in their vehicles on the main road passing through Yugoslavia, which links northern and western Europe with the southeast.

Over the past two days, Belgrade police helicopters have ferried about 4 tons of food to some 4,000 people stranded in vehicles on the road outside Belgrade. Police in helicopters paid special attention to a stranded bus with 40 children aboard, sending them food and fuel.


The Olympic express train, which normally covers the stretch from Belgrade to Sarajevo in six hours, took 30 hours to reach its destination late Saturday after making long detours and stalling for hours in snowdrifts.

Sarajevo station officials said the snow on the track was 16 inches deep in places.

Passengers, including diplomats for the temporary U.S. consulate in Sarajevo, said they were stranded for hours without heat or food or even drink while the crew locked themselves inside their cabin.

On the slopes around Sarajevo, more than 1,000 Yugoslav troops were out again in 10 degree weather, struggling to keep tracks clear of snow in hopes postponed Olympic ski events could take place later in the week.

The troops did such a good job on the women's giant slalom course on Mount Jahorina, however, that only ice was left for Monday's scheduled race. Without skiing to watch, Olympic ticket holders sipped cappacino and the Olympic Vucho beer in the bars, watching empty chairlifts go by.

Only slight snowfalls were reported in central and eastern Yugoslavia Sunday and weathermen predicted sunny spells this week. Sarajevo's Butmire airport, closed Friday and most of Saturday, was open again.

Three farmers have frozen to death in the snowstorms and another man was killed in a car accident on an icy road.


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