In October 1972, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes. Not immediately rescued, the survivors turned to cannibalism to survive, and were saved after 72 days. Survivor, and rugby team member Nando Parrado has written a beautiful story of friendship, tragedy and perseverance. In the Andes, with a fractured skull, eating the flesh of his teammates and friends, Parrado calmly ponders the cruelties of fate, the power of the natural world and the possibility of continued existence in his book, Miracle in the Andes.

I would live from moment to moment and from breath to breath, until I had used up all the life I had.

Parrado, who has been giving inspirational talks based on his experiences for the last 10 years, lost his mother and sister in the crash. Struggling to stay alive, his beloved father becomes his guide as “each stride brought me closer to my father. Each step I took was stolen back from death.”

More than a companion to the 1970s bestselling chronicle of the disaster, this fresh, gripping page-turner will satisfy adventure readers and a complex reflection on camaraderie, family and love.


Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors is a 1974 book by Piers Paul Read documenting the events of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. Alive tells the story of the Uruguayan Rugby team, and their friends and family who were involved in a plan crash in the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972. Of the 45 people who embarked on the flight, only 16 survived the crash, and resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. It was published two years after the survivors were rescued.

“I was given a free hand in writing this book by both the publisher and the sixteen survivors. At times, I was tempted to fictionalize certain parts of the story because this might have added to their dramatic impact, but in the end, I determined that the bare facts were sufficient to sustain the narrative. When I returned in October 1973 to show them the manuscript of this book, some of them were disappointed by my presentation of their story. They felt that the faith and friendship that inspired them in the cordillera do not emerge from these pages. It was never my intention to underestimate these qualities, but perhaps it would be beyond the skill of any writer to express their own appreciation of what they lived through.”


This is the definitive book about the survivors in the Andes. The biggest story that was never told. Each survivor gives his or her personal testimony and tells how the accident has influenced life, both then and now.  Pablo Vierci chillingly recreates the most important moments in the story: the departure from the Montevideo airport, those who didn’t travel because they arrived late or were ill, the accident, the injuries, the avalanche, the first expeditions in search of help, the group’s organization, the death of the rugby team’s coach, the news that they were considered dead and that the searches had been called off, the discovery of the airplane’s tail, the rescue, the last expedition: a week of hiking at 4,000 meters of altitude and 20 degrees below zero, finding the Chilean shepherd, the first questions by the Chilean press after their rescue, the return home.