Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Miracle in the Andes - Nando Parrado with Vince Rause (2006)

I picked this up because I wanted to read it ever since I read an extract. I'm sure you know the story; in 1972 a plane crashed in the Andes, and miraculously there were survivors who made it back alive. But the part that is  most publicised is the fact that the group resorted to cannibalism to curb starvation. Unfortunately when I was reading about the first time they ate human flesh, dinner was ready. Needless to say, I skipped the chicken and stuck to vegetables.

There was a book released soon after the crash, called Alive, with an account of the events based on interviews from the survivors. Parrado wrote this thirty years after the crash and it is much more personal and inspirational. I loved it. It shows that it wasn't written by a professional author, but in a good way - it has heart. I can understand that the cannibalism would throw people off, but it's not especially graphic and it's not mentioned excessively.

A group of 45 people (consisting of a Uruguayan rugby team along and their friends and family) were flying to Chile for an exhibition match. They pressured the pilots to continue flying and consequently the plane crashed in the Andes. 29 were alive a few days after the accident, and later eight more were killed in an avalanche.There was little food aboard and the survivors had to resort to eating their dead. After 72 days  two men trekked for ten days down the Andes to find help. A peasant found them and a rescue ensued.

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