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'World’s loneliest man' lives in empty ghost town that vanished under water for 25 years

'World’s loneliest man' lives in empty ghost town that vanished under water for 25 years

The village of Epecuén in Argentina was submerged under metres of water after a dam broke in 1985

Prior to 1985, the tiny tourist village of Epecuén in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina could accommodate at least 5,000 visitors.

However, that year, a colossal seiche - triggered by a rare weather pattern - caused a dam to burst in a nearby area, which in turn broke the dike protecting the village.

Within days, the entire population had evacuated the area, and the town was submerged under metres of water.

It wasn't until 2009 - 24 years after the devastating flood - that Epecuén began to re-emerge from the water, after it finally evaporated due to dry weather conditions.

It was then that one man, Pablo Novak - who'd grown up in the formerly tourist hotspot - returned to the town to set up home once more.

Since then, the now 93-year-old has the sole inhabitant of the mysterious ghost town, and has been dubbed by many as the 'world's loneliest man'.

Pablo Novak is Epecuén's sole resident.

Pablo returned to the village when the water level dropped to reveal a site similar to that of a war zone, with the salt and sun having bleached many of the abandoned buildings.

Speaking to CNN about his decision to remain in his ruined hometown, he explained: "Until about four or five years after the flood, when the waters were still high, nobody came around here at all.

"I was totally alone. All day, every day. I spent time looking for a 20-year-old bottle of whiskey and, eventually, I found one that I drank all by myself.

"As for good wines, they did not leave anything behind."

In its prime in the early 1980s, Epecuén was a holiday resort loved by over 20,000 tourists per year, and home to over 2,000 residents.

The former tourist village was completely submerged underwater.
Getty/Edith Polverini

In fact, many visitors believed that the crystal blue waters of Laguna Epecuén had healing properties for the likes of rheumatism, depression, skin conditions and diabetes, and many came from all around to test this theory.

Local businesses like hotels, museums and even a hippodrome were complemented by a train station which was built in 1972.

Two-and-a-half decades after the disaster left his hometown like the set of an apocalypse movie, Pablo left his wife behind in a neighbouring town to return to Epecuén as she didn't wish to join him.

Pablo returned to Epecuén in 2009.
Roberto Tuero/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

His home - a small and dusty house - has no electricity, and is filled with rusted furniture.

"At my age, I simply enjoy life, by walking through the ruins of Epecuén, hoping that someone will ask me something," he admitted.

"I saw this town be born and I saw it die. It does not affect me anymore."

We can't argue with that!

Featured Image Credit: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images/Roberto Tuero/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Topics: Travel, World News