The story is absolutely crazy. She has traveled the world. We are October 13, 1972, so fifty years ago, almost to the day. In the middle of the evening, a military plane chartered to bring the university rugby team from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile, disappears from radar. While no one heard from them for more than a month, it turned out that the pilot of the plane had no choice but to crash-land in the middle of the Cordillera des Andes, due to heavy fog and air pockets that would have caused a crash with no survivors.

If there were ultimately “only ten deaths” during the shock with the thick carpet of snow at 3500 meters altitude, the following days were a real nightmare for the survivors. Out of a total of 45 passengers, ten died instantly. Then, as the days passed, others succumbed to hunger, thirst, or cold. “That night I went through hell,” recalled 70-year-old retired engineer Roy Harley. He is one of the sixteen survivors

“We did what we have to do to live”

“At my feet was a boy who was missing part of his face and… choking on his blood. I didn’t have the courage to reach out to him, to hold his hand, to comfort him. I was scared. I was very scared”, continued the latter, still in shock half a century later. But what was perhaps even more difficult for the castaways to accept was to hear, on the tenth day on the radio, that the search had been interrupted. “One of the most painful things was realizing the world was going on without us,” said Carlos Paez, a former rugby player turned lecturer.

As they were about to die of starvation, the remaining survivors were forced to start eating the flesh of their already deceased comrades. “We were dying. When you have the choice to die or use the only thing left…we did what we did to live,” said one, tears in the eyes. A terrible story.

Crash in the Andes: cannibal survivors recount the horror 50 years later

Andes Crash © Pexels

Maria T.
Maria T.

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