Two companies of specialist soldiers from Spain's Military Emergencies Unit (UME) were called out in the early hours of Sunday morning in Castilla y León to try to help thousands of people stuck on roads closed by heavy snow north-west of Madrid.

Emergency services in Madrid said that, as well as the snow, "several accidents" had made the rescue operation more complicated.

Shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, the UME said on Twitter that its soldiers had "walked several kilometres on foot to hand out water and to see to the needs of children".

The unit said 50 soldiers from its First...