A group of Uruguayans, who survived a 1972
plane crash in Chile’s Andes mountains, played a rugby match in Santiago on Saturday. The game marked the 40th anniversary of their
rescue and they played the same local rugby team they were scheduled to play before their
plane crashed. Sergio Catalan, the mule driver who first
spotted the crash survivors and notified the police, also attended and part of the rescue
mission was re-enacted. The trauma of the crash still stays with the
survivors, who had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive for 72 days in the mountains. “I think the sadness of eating a dead human
body was the greatest sadness of my entire life. I would ask myself: will this be worth
it? And yes, it is for someone to live and conserve their life. I would want the same
thing done if it had been my body dead on the ground.” And a shared sense of spirit has endured between
the survivors. “It taught me that when we (humans) see something
that’s kind of difficult, we throw our hands up. It taught me that, in general, we choose
to give up before we even begin. If somebody had told me that ‘you’re going to be put on
a mountain, at an altitude of 4,000 metres, at 20 degrees below zero, wearing short sleeves,’
I would have said, ‘I’d survive 10 minutes.’ But on the contrary, I survived 72 days.” A Hollywood film based on the crash and rescue,
called “Alive,” was made in 1993.