Miracle in the Andes: how the dead saved the living
It was in October 1972. The Uruguayan youth rugby team flew to Chile with friends and relatives, a total of 45 people with the crew of the aircraft. To fly from Uruguay to Chile on a small airplane, one had to fly long south over Argentina, go around the southern part of the Andes, and then fly north because it was not safe to fly directly over the mountains. However, the pilot did not turn to the north there, the plane hit a mountain peak and fell apart. The fuselage with all the passengers rolled down on the snow, like a sleigh, down to the plateau. During the crash killed 12 people, another five were missing. The next day they will be found dead.
The captain of the sports team, Nando Parrado, who was laid with the corpses, awakened in the snow at a temperature of minus thirty several tens of hours. The doctors who examined him later said that he was saved by the fact that he was considered dead and laid to cold. Such cryotherapy slowed down all processes in the body, and cerebral haemorrhage that occurred after a head injury and caused a coma stopped, and the brain managed to recover.
one.In the plane with Nando flew his mother and younger sister. Mother died, and her sister was seriously injured and did not regain consciousness. Nando crawled over to his sister, hugged her and held her until she died - four nights and three days.
2. There is a saying: marry a poor man - and the night is short. In other words, the failures simply pursued the passengers of the ill-fated flight. Not only that they, who had never seen snow, were left without food, shelter and warm clothes in absolutely desert winter terrain at an altitude of 3600 meters. Two weeks later, the avalanche covered the survivors, and there were eight more passengers missing.
For three days, living together with the corpses were trapped in snow in the cramped space of the remnants of the aircraft. In order to save everyone, Parrado, already mentioned above, kicked out a small window in the pilot's cabin. Three people died from wounds and frostbite in the following days. A total of 45 passengers survived only 16. After 11 days after the crash, they heard on the radio that their searches were stopped and they were all declared dead. The fact is that the crashed aircraft was white and merged with the snow-covered mountain landscape.
3. They had plenty of water - people melted snow on sheets of aluminum sheeting and poured water into bottles, and then kept them under their clothes, preventing the water from freezing. There was no food at all.Given the fact that there was nowhere to wait for salvation, the living decided to eat the dead. It was not easy for everyone. The survivors were Catholics, and the need to feed on human flesh insulted their religious beliefs. In addition, many of the dead were someone's relatives or close friends. Apparently, therefore, they decided to start the meal with a pilot who was not particularly known and guilty of an accident.
But, even with all the corpses, and this source of food was exhausted, so that the passengers had to figure out how to escape. Nando Parrado, Roberto Canesa, Numa Turkatti and Antonio Visintin decided to move west to reach the Green Valleys of Chile. According to the pilots, these valleys were to be located a few miles west of the crash site.
4. 18-year-old Canessa did not dare to go on a campaign for a long time, offering to wait until the end of winter. However, the rest decided to go, no matter what. The beginning of the trip was successful, the members of the expedition accidentally stumbled upon the tail of the plane that had come off when it fell, along with the luggage. In the suitcases they found chocolate, cigarettes, clean clothes, in addition, there were charged batteries.On the second night, the weather deteriorated sharply, and the travelers almost died from the cold. It became clear that so easy to go through the mountains. I had to go back to the fuselage, and sew together a sleeping bag from pieces of material extracted in the tail. Batteries are not useful. At first they wanted to use them to send a distress signal, but nothing happened. Batteries gave out a direct current, and the variable was necessary.
And again, the three brave ones set off in search of salutary valleys. But on the third day, they realized that they would have to go for a long time, because Parrado and Canessa sent Visintin back to the camp, and themselves, taking the stocks of human meat from him, went further.
5. Soon this food is thawed and rotten. Roberto contracted dysentery, and Nando practically dragged him on himself. On the evening of the ninth day, Roberto saw on the bank of the river, to which they reached, a horseman – ranchero. The next morning he saw them, but he could not believe that in this wilderness, from somewhere, two guys came, disheveled, terribly thin, frostbite. The mountain river made a terrible noise, and Nando and Roberto could not hear the ranchero, and he - them. But ranchero was very resourceful.He took out a piece of paper, a coal and threw them over to the other side. Nando scribbled their history and request for help on a piece of paper, and ranchero rode off, but before that Nando and Roberto transferred part of their supplies - bread and cheese. It was the seventy-first day since the accident.
The next day ranchero returned with help. Roberto was sent to the hospital, and Nando escorted the rescuers by helicopter to his comrades in misfortune. Because of the bad weather that day - December 22 - only half of the passengers were able to pick up, the rest were left with food and water. They were all taken the next day.
6. The rescued had to be nursed for a long time: they were treated for altitude sickness and dehydration, scurvy and malnutrition. But on December 28, barely alive, lucky ones gave a great press conference dedicated to their miraculous rescue.
7. Nando Parrado
Since then, the story has received the appropriate name - "The Miracle in the Andes." Nando Parrado, in collaboration with writer Pierce Paul Reed, published a book - a reconstruction of his memories of the ill-fated flight 571, which became a bestseller. In 1993, the movie "Lives" was released, telling about the "Miracle in the Andes".
By the way, Nando himself, returning home, found that his father could not bear the grief and, to live on, got rid of all the things that belonged to his wife, son and youngest daughter.The only thing that reminded the house of Nando was one of his photos. But Nando did not lose heart. He became a race car driver, and later - a businessman and trainer.