Uruguayan Flight 571

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Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, also known as the Andes flight disaster, and in South America as Miracle in the Andes (El Milagro de los Andes) was a chartered flight carrying 45 rugby team members and associates that crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972. The last of the 16 survivors were rescued on December 23, 1972. More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash and several more quickly succumbed to cold and injury. Of the twenty-nine who were alive a few days after the accident, another eight were killed by an avalanche that swept over their shelter in the wreckage. The crash survivors, thinking they would be found and rescued within days, had little food and no source of heat in the harsh climate, at over 3,600 metres (12,000 ft) altitude. The survivors had a small amount of food: a few chocolate bars, other assorted snacks, and several bottles of wine. During the days following the crash they divided out this food in very small amounts so as not to exhaust their meager supply. Fito also devised a way to melt snow into water by using metal from the seats and placing snow on it. The snow then melted in the sun and dripped into empty wine bottles. Even with this strict rationing, their food stock dwindled quickly. Furthermore, there was no natural vegetation or animals on the snow-covered mountain. The group thus survived by collectively making a decision to eat flesh from the bodies of their dead comrades. Faced with starvation and radio news reports that the search for them had been abandoned, the survivors fed on the dead passengers who had been preserved in the snow. Rescuers did not learn of the survivors until 72 days after the crash when passengers Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, after a 12-day trek across the Andes, found a Chilean huaso, who gave them food and then alerted authorities about the existence of the other survivors. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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