Plane Crash Leads To Unbelievable Survival Story

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Imagine you and some of your best buddies are traveling by plane to what you think will be a weekend to remember. Suddenly you experience some bad turbulence, but it’s nothing you haven’t felt before. Then it gets worse. The plane drops through the sky, luggage falls from above. You grab hold of the seat arm; your knuckles whiten as you do so. The next thing you know you are freezing cold, still fastened to your chair, in a part of the plane that broke off. You crash into the earth, but miraculously, you’re still alive. You don’t know it yet, but you have landed in one of the most unforgiving environments known to man. There is nothing but mountains around you, no vegetation, no animals, nothing. You are at least alive, but soon you’ll be hungry. It won’t be long now until your friend tells you, “I’m going to eat the pilot.” As unbelievable as this sounds, it’s exactly what happened. This is the survivor’s story that eclipses all others. It’s a tale of heroism and sadness, a brutal story, and one that we just can’t imagine being part of. Let us start from the beginning. It’s October 12, 1972, a Thursday. Friends who play on the same rugby team from Montevideo, Uruguay, are on their way to a match in Chile. There are 45 of them on board the plane. Not only the young, strong and fit players, but some of the team’s family members as well as some supporters and five crew members. It’s expensive to fly commercially to Chile, so they opted for the cheapest option which in this case was chartering an air force plane. What they don’t know is that this American-made Fairchild FH-227D has the nickname the “lead-sled,” owing to its high weight and relatively weak engines. They’ll also soon find out why it has such an atrocious safety record. All they know now is it’s the cheapest way to fly over the Andes mountain range to play what will be a fun game of rugby in Santiago. That first part of the trip is cut short due to a terrible storm over the Andes and they are forced to stop over in Mendoza, Argentina. There is a direct route to get to Santiago from there, but the plane can’t fly the 25,000 to 26,000 feet (7,600 to 7,900 meters) required to get over the mountains. Instead, they’ll take a route that looks like a U-turn. This route will skip the highest peaks and instead find a way around them. It’s now Friday 13th and they set off again. The atmosphere is fun. The rugby ball is being thrown around the plane, it’s all laughter and games. One of the players, Nando Parrado gives his window seat up for his friend so his buddy can get a better look at the mountains. Nando has no idea that this small gesture will end up saving his life. Not long after, the turbulence starts. At first no one takes it seriously, but then someone points out that the mountains seem to be very close to the plane, like right outside. What they don’t know is the pilot and co-pilot have made a terrible mistake. They told air traffic controllers that they would reach the airport in a minute. They couldn’t see much due to the clouds, and they were wrong about that minute, they were actually 11 minutes away. They were still in mountains and hadn’t reached the safe spot where they could turn right towards the airport. They descended anyway, and were hit by more turbulence as they were right in the middle of mountains where the winds are chaotic. The plane was thrown around, the clouds parted, and the pilots saw a black ridge directly ahead of them. The plane attempted to pull up and accelerate, and now the passengers knew they were in trouble. The aircraft hit the ridge, tearing off the rear of the plane and sending the plane hurtling forward. They are still about 13,800 feet (4,200 meters) above sea level when they likely collided with another mountain causing the wings to come off and leaving just the front part of the fuselage. Those at the back of the plane have been thrown out into the mountain range. Some are alive in the plane, but there is no time to think. Suddenly what’s left of the plane hits a snow-covered mountain. The fact that even this much of the plane survived is incredible. But what’s even more incredible is what happens next. The plane begins sliding down the mountain like a sled but somehow doesn’t collide with any rocky outcrops or boulders, sliding down and down the mountain until finally it comes to a stop at 11,710 feet (3,570 meters) above sea level. Seats have been uprooted and bodies have been bashed against the front of the pilot’s cabin. People are strewn everywhere but many of the passengers have somehow survived. Some are screaming, their limbs twisted, parts of the plane stuck into them. But they are surrounded by glaciers, so remote they don’t even have a name. No one goes there and there’s little hope of being found. It is freezing cold and it’s hard to breathe because the air is so thin at this altitude. Of the survivors, those that are least injured begin to help the less fortunate. Some have broken bones, some are almost dead from internal injuries, Nando is in a coma and will remain in one for three days. Of the 45 passengers aboard the plane, 12 of them died immediately when the plane hit the mountain or fell out of the back of the destroyed aircraft. Some bodies are found still strapped to their chairs, covered in snow, and not far from the crash site. The first night is brutally cold, with temperatures getting as low as -22 degrees fahrenheit (-30 degrees celsius). The survivors huddle into the fuselage and try and block up the holes with suitcases. They all mistakenly think that a rescue operation will find them and this will be their only night on the mountain. They could not be more wrong. What they don’t realize is that the planes white coloring means that it cannot be seen from the air. Five more people die from their injuries on that first night. Nando in his coma doesn’t know that his mother is dead and his sister is dying. Both were only on the flight because Nando was told he could use the empty seats for free. Inviting them would turn out to be the biggest regret of his life. The next day the injured are attended to, some still screaming because their legs and arms have been broken in many places. The pilot is dead. The co-pilot, who made that terrible mistake, is found crushed under debris but alive. He tells the survivors that he has a handgun and asks them to shoot him and put an end to his pain. They don’t kill him, but he dies soon after. But now they need food. At high altitudes in such cold temperatures, the body burns calories extremely fast in an attempt to stay warm. All of the luggage is searched, and while there is an endless stock of cigarettes and lots booze, there isn’t much food. In total, there are eight chocolate bars, a tin of mussels, three jars of jam, a tin of almonds, some candy and a few bottles of wine. The survivors immediately make a rationing plan. It’s next to nothing for so many people and they have no idea how long it needs to last them. They have water at the very least,, being able to melt it and funnel it into empty wine bottles. Days pass, and more die. On the tenth day, Nando who is now conscious, holds his sister as she dies in his arms. He would later say that he went to sleep and “woke up in hell.” And yet it will get worse, because they then heard on a transistor radio they had found in the wreckage that the search for them was being called off. They knew they were alone, cold and starving. It was at this point of extreme desperation that Nando told a friend, “I am going to eat the pilot.” In fact, a few of the survivors had been rolling this same idea over in their minds. One of them later told the media, “Our common goal was to survive — but what we lacked was food. We had long since run out of the meagre pickings we’d found on the plane, and there was no vegetation or animal life to be found. After just a few days, we were feeling the sensation of our own bodies consuming themselves just to remain alive.” They didn’t see it as cannibalism. If they were to survive and see their families again, it was what they had to do. There was no choice, eat your buddies, or die. There were 27 people still alive at this point which is a lot of mouths to feed. They started with the pilots, stripping the bodies of all the possible meat including the organs as their starving brains told them, “eat more, eat everything, don’t waste a bit.” On day 17 disaster struck again. In the middle of the night they heard a noise, what one of them later described as sounding like wild horses running at them. It was an avalanche. Snow burst through the hole in the plane and the entire fuselage was packed tight. Those alive scrambled to dig for air and find their friends. Eight more died, and the rest were in the dark, buried in snow, with little air to breathe, for three days. In time the snow would melt and the fuselage would again be sitting on top of the snow. The days passed and they survived by eating more of the dead. They smoked cigarettes and went out on little exploratory missions. But after just a few hundred meters they’d be too tired. The snow was too deep and the air too thin for their weakened state. They were also affected by snow blindness, essentially a sunburning of the eye that comes from the sun reflecting off of the snow. To fight back against their surroundings, they made makeshift snowshoes and sunglasses so they could stray farther. Even then, they were surrounded on all sides by dangerous crevasses. One of the survivors would later say, “We felt like insects trapped in the hugest forces of nature.” They were right, there’s almost no place on Earth where it would be harder for humans to survive. On one sojourn, they found the other part of the fuselage. Inside were batteries for the plane radio as well as some chocolate, a little candy and comic books. They stayed there all night reading the comics by the light of a fire they had built. For a while they had hope that they could use the batteries, but it soon became apparent that hooking up a radio with lots of wires was not something any of them possessed the knowhow to do. As Nando later said, “We were very depressed.” For him, the only option now was to walk right out of the mountains. They were aware that Chile was west and remembered that the pilot has said they weren’t far away from their destination. But they had no way of knowing that they were still 37 miles (59km) from the nearest road. But that wouldn’t be an easy hike. It was 37 miles of glaciers and rough terrain, and they were far from experienced outdoorsman. But Nando knew they had to walk over the mountain range to Chile, it was their only option. They decided they would stock up on human meat and only the strongest would go, Nando, and two others named Roberto Canessa and Antonio Vizintin. On day 61 when the men set off, only 16 survivors remained alive. Some were sick, and everyone was malnourished and beaten by the elements. Before they left a man named Carlitos Páez made them a sleeping bag with parts of the aircraft insulation sewn together with copper wire. Had they not have had that they would have surely frozen to death on their hike to freedom. It took them three days to climb the first mountain. Nando expected to see green valleys from the top of that mountain, but what he saw instead were more mountain ranges. Vizintin turned back and gave his food to the others. Nando and Canessa both said, “We’ll die, but we’ll die trying.” They didn’t die. They walked for days, almost passing out from exhaustion, but on day eight of their walk they found a river, they saw green poking through the melting snow, and most importantly, they saw a person on the other side of the river, though they were unable to cross to the other side to meet him. They slept there that night and the next morning the man came back. He had brought with him a piece of paper and a pen. He tied them to a rock and threw it across the river. Nando wrote on the paper: We are survivors of the plane crash. We have no food. We cannot walk anymore. There are more of us in the mountain. Where are we?” and threw it back. The man went to find help, himself being many hours by horseback from civilization. On day 10 Nando and Canessa were finally picked up by the army. Their skinny bodies carried out on the back of horses. Nando said at that point he was “ready to embrace life again.” Soon helicopters would take Nando to find his friends, with the pilots asking how they could have possibly walked over such terrain without equipment. It was amazing, their journey was tracked by professionals years later and even with the latest equipment they found it hard and very, very dangerous. On day 71 the first of the team was picked up and on day 72 the rest were taken. All were suffering from various ailments but all of those who had still been alive eventually recovered, and in fact only one of them is not alive today. Once the newspapers had stopped cheering for the survivors many began to ask just how they had survived so long without food. It was impossible, literally impossible. Then a photograph taken by the rescuers came to light of a human carcass whose bones had been stripped. The survivors admitted what they had done, and many in the public turned on them, calling them cannibal savages. Nando later said that eating human flesh wasn’t an easy decision, it was a last resort. He said, “We tried to eat strips of leather torn from pieces of luggage, though we knew that the chemicals they'd been treated with would do us more harm than good. We ripped open seat cushions hoping to find straw, but found only inedible upholstery foam.” It was either feast on dead friends or die, and one survivor that was reluctant to turn to cannibalism actually did die. But 16 of the survivors decided that they would do whatever it would take to stay alive, and because of it, they made it down off the mountain. With that in mind, would you have done the same? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video Cannibal Island: The Real Battle Royale. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.
Channel: The Infographics Show
Views: 1,588,702
Rating: 4.8734202 out of 5
Keywords: plane, Andes, Mountains, survive, survival, airplane, plane crash, survival videos, airplane crash, crash, alive, flight, airplanes, aviation, history
Id: JcuDwD2CzIc
Channel Id: undefined
Length: 12min 31sec (751 seconds)
Published: Thu Jul 18 2019
Reddit Comments

A mi tambien

👍︎︎ 5 👤︎︎ u/Manitazas 📅︎︎ Aug 05 2019 🗫︎ replies

Ey gente como cambio el título ?

👍︎︎ 5 👤︎︎ u/ELCORSA 📅︎︎ Aug 05 2019 🗫︎ replies

Ignorando lo del pito que me dio bastante gracia, el video en si me pareció re molesto. No se si es porque odio estas cosas gringas o por la animación. Me pareció irrespetuoso además (teniendo en cuenta que hay muertos y un tema tabú involucrado).

👍︎︎ 1 👤︎︎ u/Agostinhohecker 📅︎︎ Aug 05 2019 🗫︎ replies

Dale like si te gusta el pito

👍︎︎ 1 👤︎︎ u/Seoo13 📅︎︎ Aug 08 2019 🗫︎ replies
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