The story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 is one of the most miraculous examples of survival in recent history. A plane carrying the Uruguayan rugby team and their families crashed in the Andes in 1972, and the survivors were trapped there for 72 days. The survivors' struggle to survive as they faced starvation, dehydration and sub-zero temperatures was revealed to be a harrowing tale of survival against the odds. This horrific phenomenon has become a symbol of the human spirit of survival, in addition to acting as a grim reminder of the dangers associated with flying over enemy territory. Here are 10 interesting and inspiring facts about Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571.
1. Among the passengers on the flight were members of the Uruguayan rugby team
Remnants of the plane preserved at the crash site of Flight 571 of the Uruguayan Air Force.Wunabbis,CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
The wreckage of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, popularly known as the Miracle of the Andes or El Milagro de los Andes in Spanish, which crashed on October 13, 1972 in the Andes Mountains of Argentina, was not discovered for over two months. The flight was chartered by the Uruguayan amateur rugby club.
2. Nine passengers and three crew members died on the spot
Booty and ball at the scene of the accident.Adrito to,CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
There were 45 passengers on board, including 19 members of the Old Christian Clubrugbyunion team, as well as their friends, family and supporters. Nine passengers and three crew members died on the spot, and many died soon after due to the severe cold and the severity of their injuries.
3. The incident took place on October 12, 1972
The plane took off from Carrasco International Airport on October 12, 1972, but a storm front over the Andes forced them to stop overnight in Mendoza, Argentina. The maximum operational limit of the FH-227D is 28,000 feet (8,500 m), however high mountains require an altitude of 25,000 to 26,000 feet (7,600 to 7,900 m), despite the fact that there is a direct route from Mendoza to Santiago 200 kilometers ( 120 mi) to the west. The FH-227 aircraft was fully loaded, so the pilot would have to carefully calculate fuel consumption and avoid mountains on this route.
4. The wreckage was found in the rugged Andes in the far west of Argentina
East of the Chilean border in the rugged Andes of far-western Argentina, the wreckage was located at an altitude of 3,570 meters (11,710 feet). Authorities searched for the plane by flying over the crash site several times in the days that followed, but were unable to find the white fuselage on the white snow. After eight days, the search was stopped.
5. The pilot has made 29 previous flights with the same plane
29 times earlier, the pilot Ferradas flew over the Andes. He instructed co-pilot Lagurari, who was in charge, during this trip. Clouds hid the mountains as they soared over the Andes. Aircraft FAU 571 had 792 flight hours and was four years old. The plane was nicknamed "lead sled" by some pilots because they believed it was underpowered.
6. Survivors were forced to improvise shelter after the accident
Passengers made a rough shelter out of broken seats and other plane debris. 28 people crammed into a 2.5 by 3 meter (8 ft 2 in. 9 ft 10 in.) area in the wrecked hull. They closed the open end of the plane with luggage, chairs and snow in an effort to block out some of the cold. They found various methods for improvisation. Fito Strauch discovered a method of obtaining water in icy weather by covering the sheets behind the seats with snow. The snow melted with the help of a solar collector, and the drops went into empty wine bottles. He made makeshift wire sunglasses, a bra, and sun visors in the cockpit to prevent snow blindness.
7. An avalanche hit the plane of the survivors while they were sleeping
Around midnight on October 29, seventeen days after the incident, an avalanche hit the survivors' craft while they were sleeping.Enrique Platero, Liliana Methol, Gustavo Nicolich, Daniel Maspons, Juan Menendez, Diego Storm, Carlos Roque and Marcelo Perezthey were among the eight individuals that died due to hull filling. The loss of Liliana Methol, who cared for the survivors "like a mother and a saint" and Perez, the team captain and leader of the survivors, was very demoralizing to those still alive.
The interior of the fuselage was completely filled with an avalanche that came within one meter (3 feet, three inches) of the ceiling. The trapped survivors quickly became aware that they were running out of air. To unlock one of the cockpit windows and create a ventilation opening in the snow, Nando Parrado used a metal rod he found on the luggage racks. On the morning of October 31, they painstakingly constructed a tunnel from the cockpit to the surface, but were forced to stay inside the hull due to a heavy snowstorm.
8. The calculation of the survival of the passengers after 72 days captured the interest of the whole world
Fernando Parrado i Roberto Canessa zajedno s mazgarom Sergiom Catalan.Hector Maffuche, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Passenger accountsurvival after 72 dayscaught the interest of the whole world when it was discovered that individuals survived the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. A number of foreign journalists started to walk several kilometers from Puente Negra to Termas Del Flaco. Journalists begged to speak to Parrada and Canessa about the disaster and their struggle to survive.
Three Bell UH-1 helicopters from the Chilean Air Force were used in the rescue. They took off under instrument conditions in heavy cloud for Los Maitenes de Curicó, where soldiers interrogated Parrado and Canessa. Around noon, the fog began to clear, and Parrado volunteered to fly the helicopter crew to the crash site. He guided the helicopters up the mountain to where the last survivors were using the flight plan the pilot had brought with him. One helicopter remained in reserve. The two men's journey over difficult terrain to get help surprised the pilots.
9. Some of the other survivors were slaughtered for food by the survivors
When the survivors were rescued, they originally claimed to have consumed some cheese and other food they had brought with them, and then local plants and herbs. They intended to reveal their survival strategies, including their cannibalism, to their families in secret. Immediately after the rescue, rumors began to spread through Montevideo that some of the survivors had been slaughtered for food. Reports of cannibalism worldwide were published on December 23, with the exception of Uruguay. On December 26, two photographs of a human limb partially eaten by a human being were published on the front pages of two Chilean newspapers,Mercury and a third of an hour,which claimed that all survivors had turned to cannibalism.
10. The dead were buried in a cemetery near the accident site
The place of the accident.BoomerKC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The authorities and relatives of the deceased made a decision to place the bodies in a cemetery near the accident site. The other 15 bodies were mostly skeletons, while 13 were unharmed. On January 18, 1973, twelve men and a priest from Chile were brought to the crash site. Family members were not allowed to attend. They dug a grave in what they believed to be safe from avalanches, 400 to 800 m (1/4 to 12 mi) from the plane wreckage.
Discover Walks contributors speak from all over the world - from Prague to Bangkok, Barcelona to Nairobi. We may all come from different social backgrounds, but we have one common passion - learning through travel.
Whether you want to learn the history of a city or simply need a recommendation for your next meal, the Discover Walks Team offers a growing travel encyclopedia.
For local insights and insider travel tips you won't find anywhere else, search any keyword in the top right toolbar on this page. Happy travels!
10 facts about Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571? ›
Of the 45 people aboard the plane, only 16 survived the ordeal. The incident garnered international attention, especially after it was revealed that the survivors had resorted to cannibalism.How many people were eaten on Flight 571? ›
Of the 45 people aboard the plane, only 16 survived the ordeal. The incident garnered international attention, especially after it was revealed that the survivors had resorted to cannibalism.Are any flight 571 still Alive? ›
The group, all of whom are still alive, get together on the Oct. 13 anniversary of the crash for a mass to remember the 29 friends and crew members who perished in the crash at an altitude of more than 13,000 feet, according to the outlet.How long did they survive in Alive? ›
Sixteen young men managed to survive for 72 days, in sub-zero temperatures and with very little food, before two found help after a 10-day trek across the mountains in waist-deep snow.How long were flight 571 stranded? ›
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571.
|Date||13 October 1972 – 23 December 1972|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to pilot error, 72-day survival|
Miracle of the Andes: How Survivors of the Flight Disaster Struggled to Stay Alive. When an Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972, cannibalism helped some survive two months in harsh conditions. At first, none of the passengers panicked. Few even showed much alarm.What plane has never been found? ›
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Vesna Vulović (Serbian Cyrillic: Весна Вуловић, pronounced [ʋêsna ʋûːloʋitɕ]; 3 January 1950 – 23 December 2016) was a Serbian flight attendant who holds the Guinness world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 m (33,330 ft; 6.31 mi).Why did the plane crash in Alive movie? ›
However, the plane had not yet passed Curicó, and the accident can be attributed to human error, considering that the pilots had navigated the plane to a far different position than where they thought they were, due to the storm.Who survived in Alive Netflix? ›
Joon-Woo witnesses his family getting killed by zombies which puts him in a severe depression and leads him to take the extreme step of committing suicide. But, he is saved by the ray of light shown by Yoo-Bin, who has also survived the apocalypse by confining herself in shut doors.
Is Alive the movie a true story? ›
But unfortunately enough it all really happened, which makes the movie interesting to watch. For those who don't know the story yet, it is based on what happened to the Uruguayan rugby team during and after their plane crash in the middle of the Andes mountains in 1972.What is the oldest plane ever found? ›
The Blériot XI first flew on January 23rd, 1909. It went on to perform a pioneering flight across the English Channel later that year.What movie is the crash of flight 571? ›
Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film based on Piers Paul Read's 1974 book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, which details a Uruguayan rugby team's crash aboard Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972.What is the longest recorded flight? ›
Undefeated record: The world record for the world's longest continuous flight was set in 1959 by Robert Timm (pictured) and his co-pilot John Cook. Months in the air: The men flew in this four-seater aircraft for 64 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes.Do airlines pay families of crash victims? ›
The airline can be sued for the wrongful death of the passenger. In general, the family can recover financial compensation, known as “damages,” for loss of support, and children can recover for loss of a parent's nurture, care and guidance.How do they identify bodies in plane crashes? ›
It is rarely possible to identify a victim of a major disaster by visual recognition; fingerprints, dental records or DNA samples are often required for a conclusive identification.Do passengers know when a plane is crashing? ›
He said: “A plane crash is rarely, if ever, certain. If you mean if an emergency landing is certain, then yes, if there is time, the pilots will inform the passengers and crew to prepare for an emergency landing.” A former American Airlines worker added: “Passengers will never be told that a plane crash is certain.”What happens if a whole team dies? ›
A disaster draft or contingency draft is a disaster recovery plan developed by professional sports leagues to rebuild a team's roster if many players are disabled or killed.Who survived multiple plane crashes? ›
Austin Hatch—Who Survived 2 Plane Crashes That Killed His Family—Becomes a Dad: 'Grateful' (Exclusive) Austin Hatch survived not one but two plane crashes as a kid — and the precious yet limited years he had with his family are what inspires him to be the best husband and father he can be.Which team lost all players in plane crash? ›
The flight was carrying most of the Zambian national football team to a 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Senegal in Dakar. All 25 passengers and five crew members were killed. However, Johnson Bwalya (a member of the team) couldn't get on the plane and is thankfully still alive.
How many airplanes go missing? ›
In the last seven decades, nearly 90 commercial airliners have gone missing — without a single piece of wreckage ever located.What plane had no oxygen? ›
|Date||14 August 2005|
|Summary||Crashed following crew incapacitation due to lack of pressurization|
|Site||Grammatiko, Greece 38°13.894′N 23°58.214′E|
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is officially the flight with the most missing people (239 missing), although possible remains of the plane have been found in the Indian Ocean.Who was the little girl only survivor of the plane crash? ›
Why did Juliane survive? Over the years, Juliane has struggled to understand how she came to be the only survivor of LANSA flight 508. Ninety other people, including Maria Koepcke, died in the crash. It's believed 14 people survived the impact, but were not well enough to trek out of the jungle like Juliane.Can you survive a 50 foot fall? ›
In regards to the suspected impact after the fall, you will need to expand on the parameters to your question. Divers survive 50ft drops routinely. The elderly are killed from 4 foot drops routinely.How rare is it for a plane to fall? ›
Of these 24 million hours, 6.84 of every 100,000 flight hours yielded an airplane crash, and 1.19 of every 100,000 yielded a fatal crash.Are there 3 Air Force Ones? ›
There Are Two Air Force One Planes
Although it is Air Force One, the military has two planes that are designated as the official planes for presidential travel under the call sign Air Force One.
The primary customers are the vice president, using the distinctive call sign "Air Force Two," the first lady, and members of the Cabinet and Congress. The C-32 is a specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner.Do Air Force 1s get dirty? ›
If you're rocking white-on-white Air Force 1s, chances are they're going to encounter dirt, stains and scuffs. To remedy any soiling, it's key to know how to keep Air Force 1s clean. Check out these tips to freshen them up and get them back in rotation.Do plane crash survivors fly again? ›
While some survivors will fly again and a small study suggests accident survivors fare better mental health-wise than other airplane travelers, psychologists say many experience what is called “post traumatic stress disorder,” a cluster of psychological responses to the devastating event, such as nightmares and ...
Who jumped out of a plane and survived? ›
Vesna Vulovic was a Serbian flight attendant who holds the Guinness world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 m (33,330 ft; 6.31 mi).Did the survivors eat the dead in the airplane crash? ›
Two survivors of the Uruguayan plane that crashed in the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972 remember the accident that left them stranded in the snow for 72 days and forced them to eat the remains of their dead companions to survive.Why is alive rated R? ›
Content: -3 Excessive sex, violence, immorality, and/or worldview problems. (Sometimes excessive content such as violence is in otherwise redemptive movies.)How accurate is the movie alive? ›
The survivors have seen “Alive” several times and plan to watch it again before returning to South America. All three give the movie high marks. “It is 100 percent accurate,” says Parrado, the film's technical adviser. “It has not been dramatized in any way.What is a Hambie? ›
Hambies or also known as alpha zombies are special form of zombie-human hybrids that have the enhanced strength, sight, and agility of normal zombies while retaining human intelligence.How many people were on the plane in Alive? ›
Of the 45 people on the flight, only 16 survived in sub-zero temperatures. After numerous days spent searching for survivors, the rescue team was forced to end the search. Consequently, the survivors had to sustain life with rations found in the wreckage after the plane had crashed.How many of the Andes survivors are still Alive? ›
The most difficult decision
As time passed, the weather improved, but there were only 16 survivors left -- less than half of those who survived the impact. For Parrado, it was at this point that the most difficult decision came: to leave the fuselage of the crashed plane and go in search of help.
72 days later, 16 survivors emerged from the mountains, emaciated, injured and nearly snowblind, but grateful to be alive. Their harrowing story of survival was told in Piers Paul Read's bestselling novel, Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors.Do old planes still fly? ›
The oldest plane still flying in the world is the Bleriot XI. And it's not even close! Where generations of aircraft have been built and retired in its wake, the Bleriot XI, one of the first planes ever, built in 1909, still flies in Hudson Valley, New York.What is the old biggest plane? ›
Antonov An-225 Mriya.
|Developed from||Antonov An-124 Ruslan|
What is the oldest plane crash? ›
Northwest Airlines Flight 4422.
|Date||March 12, 1948|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)|
|Site||Mount Sanford, Alaska Territory|
Uruguayan Air Force flight 571, also called Miracle of the Andes or Spanish El Milagro de los Andes, flight of an airplane charted by a Uruguayan amateur rugby team that crashed in the Andes Mountains in Argentina on October 13, 1972, the wreckage of which was not located for more than two months.How long was flight 571 lost? ›
Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571.
|Date||13 October 1972 – 23 December 1972|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to pilot error, 72-day survival|
The story of the 16 survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which was chartered to take an amateur rugby team from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile, in 1972 was immortalized in the best-selling book, “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors” by Piers Paul Read. It was later made into a Hollywood movie in 1993.Which flight lasted only 12 seconds? ›
The 1903 Wright Flyer makes its first flight in Kitty Hawk, NC. Image courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution. The flight lasted only 12 seconds, but it was a true flight nevertheless.Do pilots sleep on long flights? ›
Aviation regulators set the total hours pilots fly and how much sleep they must get between flights. During ultra-long-haul flights, pilots sleep in special cabins, which passengers can't access.What's the shortest flight? ›
Westray and Papa Westray, Scotland
At number one, we have a narrow stretch of water which separates the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray. The flight, operated by LoganAir has been in use for over 50 years and only takes 2 minutes which makes it the shortest flight in the world.
NTSB says crash probably caused by "intense in- flight fire," possibly started in cargo area; search for wreckage called off, 75 percent of plane recovered; remains of bodies of 36 people identified; crash site to be closed to public for 90 days.Were all bodies recovered from flight 401? ›
All of the bodies were recovered, 99 perished that night, two more would die from their injuries. Infantino and other survivors are holding a memorial service today at 4 p.m. at the site of the Valujet Flight 592 memorial, on the Tamiami Trail, 12 miles west of Krome Avenue. It is open to the public.How many bodies were recovered from flight 447? ›
A total of 153 bodies have been identified from the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, authorities said Tuesday. Robert Soulas, president of an organization of victims' families, and Col.
Did anyone on the floors above the plane survive? ›
Brian Clark (September 11 survivor)
|Known for||Survivor of the September 11 attacks|
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is officially the flight with the most missing people (239 missing), although possible remains of the plane have been found in the Indian Ocean.What is the biggest plane disappearance? ›
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370/MAS370) was an international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia to its planned destination, Beijing Capital International Airport in China.How many missing planes have never been found? ›
Some 83 aircraft have been declared “missing” since 1948, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network. The list includes planes capable of carrying more than 14 passengers and where no trace — bodies or debris — has ever been found. Related Graphic: Where Could Flight 370 Be? >>What was the deadliest aviation accident with survivors? ›
The deadliest aviation disaster to have had a sole survivor was Northwest Airlines Flight 255, which crashed in Romulus, Michigan, on 16 August 1987, killing 154 of the 155 people on board the aircraft, as well as two people on the ground.Who was the baby that survived Flight 401? ›
Ron Infantino was returning from his honeymoon the night Eastern Airlines Flight 401 cartwheeled across the Everglades and disintegrated in a tangle of blood and mud and death. He survived.What plane was used in Stranger things? ›
The airplane was of the model Antonov An-2. Manufacture of An-2's started in 1947. At least 18,000 were made. The NATO reporting name for this type of aircraft was "Colt".Why did Bonin pull up? ›
Duhigg contends that Bonin became so focused on correcting the roll in the plane and levelling it, that he pulled back on his stick, causing the plane's nose to lift higher.Were the bodies of Flight 261 found? ›
Coast Guard, Navy and private vessels were joined by military airplanes. Nearly a day after the accident, searchers had pulled four bodies - one man, two women and an infant- from the sea, which is 300 to 750 feet deep in the area. Hopes dimmed that anyone aboard Flight 261 survived in the 58-degree water.Did any passengers survive flight 11? ›
American Airlines Flight 11.
|Fatalities||92 (including 5 hijackers)|
Is there a plane with 2 floors? ›
The first full double-deck jet airliner is the Airbus A380, which has two passenger decks extending the full length of the fuselage, as well as a full-length lower third deck for cargo. It entered regular service in late-October 2007.What seats survive a plane crash? ›
Nevertheless, a survey by the American magazine Time which examined 35 years of data on plane crashes found that the middle rear seats of an airplane had the lowest fatality rate: 28 per cent, compared to 44 per cent for the seats from the central aisle. It is also logical.What is the highest floor that someone survived? ›
|Known for||Survivor of September 11 attacks|