They were forced to eat the flesh of their companions… Here they are now 43 years later!
‘El Milagro de los Andes’ was how they called it. Way back in 1972, the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes Mountains on the 13th of October. Seventy-two days later, 16 survivors emerged from the crash and was reunited with their families just in time for their 1972 Christmas. Surviving through the desolate world of ice and snow, these 16 survivors had to resort to eating the flesh of their companions in order to stay alive. Survival was harsh and out of the original 27 survivors of the crash, eleven less were able to make it home.
From battling the extreme cold to staying strong against an avalanche to watching their family and friends wither away before their eyes, it truly is a miracle to witness the life of these young men as portrayed in the many films and books that were written about them. Now, 43 years after the crash, their lives have moved on. They’ve aged wonderfully living the life of a satisfied man, here are some of the survivors of the 1972 Andes Plane Crash.
1 Roberto Jorge CanessaUrta
Being an athlete. It helped him survive the plane crash for 72 days. He was one of the two people who went on a ten day trek to go to the bottom of the Andes Mountains in order to look for help.
Roberto didn’t stop playing rugby. In fact, he became a National Rugby Player and was chosen to play with the Uruguay National Rugby Union Team. In 1980, he was chosen to participate in the South American Jaguars Tour of South America.
He pursued his rugby career even until he graduated from medical school. Forty-three years have passed, now, Roberto is a happily married cardiologist. Continuing his medical career, he also took part of the 1994 Presidential Elections in Uruguay. He may not have won the vote of the public but he did end up being a motivational speaker.
2 Fernando “Nando” Seler Parrado Dolgay
He was portrayed as the leader in the 1972 Andes Plane Crash. He was a strong character that put everybody together. He managed to help his companions in keeping hope alive. He and Roberto Canessa were the ones who trekked the hostile Andes Mountains to search for help.
Nando Parrado became an instant personality in Uruguay. He published his first book about the life in the Andes Mountains in 2006 with his co-author Vince Rause. Before becoming a well-read writer though, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the loss of both his sister and mother from the crash as well as the ordeal they all had to go through in the mountains.
He pursued his interest and became a sports race car driver but soon had to let his career go when he had a family. Sports racing may have been his interest but Nando became a Uruguayan television personality and writer. To date, Nando runs his own hardware business with his siblings from which was passed on by their father. He is a successful businessman as well as an international motivational speaker especially for those who suffer from psychological trauma.
3 Carlos “Carlitos” Miguel Páez Rodríguez
Carlitos celebrated one of his birthdays in the Andes Mountains with a snowball and a cigarette. Enduring the harshness of the cold, he was one of the last man standing that to this day, he used his ordeal as an inspiration to continue living.
He graduated from Universidad delTrabajo del Uruguay and became an agricultural technician for a decade. He had a change of heart in his choice of career and pursued a career in Advertising. He first worked for Nivel-Publicis Creative Team but soon after founded his own advertising company, Rating Publicidad. He also became the director of Bates Uruguay Publicidad in addition to printing his best-selling book entitled, ‘After the Tenth Day’. Today, he runs his own Communication Consultancy and Public Relations Company.
4 Antonio ‘Tintin’ Vizintin
Another Rugby player, Antonio ‘Tintin’ Vizintin is one of the surviving members of the rugby team. He was one of the original three who were supposed to go down the Andes Mountains to look for help but was asked to return to camp due to dwindling food supply. Tintin, now, doesn’t seem to be a man who suffered a great deal in his youth. His optimism made him finish a degree in Law and made him continue his passion for rugby made him now the Vice President of the Rugby Union of Uruguay (URU). Not only that but he is also a member of the board of Alive Foundation.
He is now an international motivational speaker going around different countries to inspire the youth. He lives a simple and happy life as in the real estate industry.