Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571

On Oct. 13, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force flight 571 crashed in the Andes mountains. On board were members of the Uruguayan rugby team and their friends and family — 45 people in all. Their chance of survival was so grim that the search mission was called off after just eight days. Some were killed instantly, while others succumbed to injuries and the mountain cold. As the days went by, survivors were left with few options and little hope. Their sparse food supplies — a few chocolate bars and some bottles of wine — did not last long, and eventually they made a group decision to eat flesh from the bodies of their dead friends and teammates. In the end, Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa trekked for 12 days across the mountains to secure their rescue and that of 14 other passengers on Dec. 23, 1972. They had lived an astonishing 72 days on the snow-covered mountaintop after the crash. The story of their survival inspired the 1993 film Alive.