October 13, 2002
1:03 PM   Subscribe

30 years ago, a group of Uruguayan rugby players traveled to Chile to play a game against a local team. Their plane crashed in the Andes Mountains. The 27 who survived the crash were forced to eat their teammates in order to survive. After 72 days in the mountains, 16 were rescued. Their story was told in the book Alive and later a movie by the same name. Today those survivors reunited in Chile and finally played the rugby game. The Uruguayans won.
posted by einarorn (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It must have been the extra amino acids.
posted by ginz at 1:17 PM on October 13, 2002

Must...resist.. puns...
posted by Stan Chin at 1:20 PM on October 13, 2002

metafilter: we love cannibals

Fascinating story though. I always thought I would do the same, if in the same situation.
posted by ginz at 1:28 PM on October 13, 2002

This is the perfect place for a Simpsons quote from that episode when they were watching Alive... if only I could find it. The one with the munching noises.
posted by brownpau at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2002

heh. there's a report in the local (posh) paper (translation) (they mention the airforce general because the current head just resigned in a row about prosecuting (ex-)members for crimes during the junta years).
posted by andrew cooke at 1:59 PM on October 13, 2002

When I was a kid (around the time of the book), it was commonly believed that they'd killed each other, rather than simply being forced to eat the bodies of their comrades. I eventually read the book and learned otherwise, and saw the unfortunately mostly unremarkable movie (some chillingly realistic effects blending models with CGI). But it wasn't until the survivors were interviewed on a magazine show -- probably for the 25th anniversary (I think it was with Connie Chung, something like two networks ago) -- that the people involved were humanized for me. They showed footage of an expedition by several of the survivors up to the glacier where the plane crashed, with helicopters operating at their altitude limits, and placing a memorial; I was most touched that they only shot the service from a distance. It must have been a most difficult thing.

The moment from the story that most resonates is when the expedition to hike out of the mountains ascends a ridge, thinking they would have a clear route down to Chile -- only to see another ridge miles away. They would have to go down, then up again, with no provisions, no clothing, and no equipment. It's very similar to the moment when Shackleton and 2 companions reached a ridge summit on South Georgia island, after they had already achieved one of the most stunning survival experiences in history just making landfall (but on the wrong side of the island), only to see that their attempt to reach a whaling station would take days longer than they'd thought.
posted by dhartung at 2:09 PM on October 13, 2002

A few years ago I was shooting a snowboard story in Portillo, a ski resort in Chile, and we heard that one of the survivors was also staying there. Ended up photographing and interviewing Antonio Vincentin, one of the survivors. He was really nice and had no problems answering all of our questions, even some about the taste of human flesh. Brazilian Trip magazine ran the story, but i can't find a link ...

Dhartung, cool comment about Shackleton's very similar moment (psychologically).
posted by ig at 5:48 PM on October 13, 2002

I know why the Uruguayans won... its all laid bare in this film.

(apologies for bad puns and bad taste... DOH. I did it again.)
posted by FilmMaker at 10:18 PM on October 13, 2002

BBC's 'People+Arts' channel is airing a 60 minutes program about the tragedy and the survivors, since it's been 30 years from the crash. A must see.

Also, if you get the chance to read or watch any interview by Nando Parrado, you won't regret it. Nando is one of the most centered persons I've ever had the chance to hear. He'll face any question, no matter how tasteless, and calmly answer it and in the end you'll get the felling that it's a matter that they dealt pretty well with, in spite of all the horror that it must have been.

Nando has been into my city several times (Porto Alegre, Brazil) since one of the survivors actually lives here (or lived here until a couple of years ago) and Uruguay and my state share some borders.
posted by rexgregbr at 10:43 AM on October 14, 2002 [1 favorite]

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