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MADRID (Reuters) - After hours of being trapped in heavy snow and freezing conditions, the last of travellers stranded overnight in their vehicles on a motorway near Spain’s capital Madrid were rescued on Sunday afternoon, emergency services said.

Up to 70 km (44 miles) of motorway between Madrid and nearby Segovia in the centre of the country were blocked by snow during Saturday night, trapping drivers returning from the holiday season.

Between 3,500 and 4,000 drivers were forced to spend the night on the motorway, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Photos posted on Twitter by Spain’s emergency services showed workers battling snow drifts to free drivers. Parts of the highway are remain impassable to traffic, with further snow expected.

Drivers trapped on the motorway took to social media to complain about slow pace of rescue, some saying that were stranded for hours without food or fuel to heat their vehicles.

“I’m with my family, there are two children: one 2 years old, the other 6 years old. The adults haven’t eaten since midday yesterday. The children had the little food we brought with us, but since then they haven’t eaten anything else,” Sara Ramos told Spanish television.

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Reuters