Click here to go to our home page!
WWW  Super70s Awesome80s
FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV


Uruguayan Rugby Team In Andes Air Crash

By Patrick Mondout

On Friday, October 13, 1972*, a Fairchild F-227 turboprop belonging to the Uruguayan Air Force and carrying the Old Christians rugby team plus friends, relatives, and supporters from Uruguay, crashed in the Argentinean Andes. The pilot was off course and their reported locations were incorrect, making the task of finding the site - no easy task in such a rugged and remote locale even if you know where to look - that much more difficult.

Thirteen of the passengers and crew were immediately killed. The mostly young and athletic survivors (all between the ages of 19 and 33) huddled around the fuselage of the plane and waited for the inevitable rescue team to arrive. Night came and went with no sign of help. Another day came and went and still no rescuers. Two more died due to their injuries. What little food aboard the plane was quickly consumed.

Search and rescues teams were sent looking for the missing plane but they looked along the path where they expected the aircraft to have been, not knowing how badly off course it was when it went down.

Now those who had survived the crash had to deal with hypothermia, avalanches, anger, depression and... starvation. Robert Canessa (who would later make an unsuccessful bid for the Uruguayan presidency), a third-year medical student on the flight, broached the subject of cannibalism to his starving comrades. Ten days after the crash (and, unbeknownst to them, one day after the rescue efforts to find the white plane in the white snow was abandoned), the 19 survivors decided they had no choice but to resort to cannibalism.

On the 16th day, an avalanche struck the fuselage that had become their home and killed nine more.

Weeks passed and still no rescue. On the 60th day of their ordeal, two of the stronger survivors decided to make an attempt to hike out of the mountains and find help. It took them another 12 days but they did find help.

In all, it took 10 weeks before crash site was found (on December 21st) and by then three more had died. Their ordeal was made famous by a 1974 book called Alive! by Piers Paul Read.

*The author is not only not superstitious, but was born on a Friday the 13th.

Uraquay Air Force at a Glance
AirlineUraquay Air Force
DateOctober 13, 1972
Registration NumberT-571
Crew Fatalities5 of 5
Passenger Fatalities24 of 40
Total Fatalities29 of 45

Air Safety References:
Bartelski, Jan. Disasters in the Air: Mysterious Air Disasters Explained. Airlife Publishing: England, 2001.
Beaty, David. The Naked Pilot: The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents. Airlife Publishing: England, 1996.
Cushing, Steven. Fatal Words: Communication Clashes and Aircraft Crashes University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1997.
Faith, Nicholas. Black Box: The Air-Crash Detectives-Why Air Safety Is No Accident. Motorbooks International, 1997.
Gero, David. Aviation Disasters: The World's Major Civil Airliner Crashes Since 1950. Sutton, 2003.
Job, Macarthur. Air Disaster (Volume 1). Aerospace Publications: Fyshwick, Australia, 1995.
Job, Macarthur. Air Disaster (Volume 2). Aerospace Publications: Fyshwick, Australia, 1996.
Job, Macarthur. Air Disaster (Volume 3). Aerospace Publications: Fyshwick, Australia, 1999.
Krause, Shari Stamford. Aircraft Safety: Accident Investigations, Analyses & Applications. McGraw Hill, New York, 1996.
Macpherson, Malcolm. The Black Box : All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts Of In-flight Accidents. New York: William Morrow, 1998.
Macpherson, Malcolm. On a Wing and a Prayer: Interviews with Airline Disaster Survivors. Perennial, 2002.
Owen, David. Air Accident Investigation, 2nd Edition. Motorbooks International, 2002.
Stewart, Stanley. Emergency! - Crisis on the Flight Deck, 2nd Edition. Airlife Publishing, England, 2003.
Walters, James M. Aircraft Accident Analysis: Final Reports. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000.
Wells, Alexander T. Commercial Aviation Safety, 3rd Edition. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001.


Share Your Memories!

What do you remember about this crash? Were you a witness? Have you any compelling stories to share? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)



Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read became a bestseller and remains in print 30 years later.

Airline: Uraquay Air Force

Location: Andes (Argentina)

Aircraft: Fairchild F-227

Date: October 13, 1972

Total Fatalities: 29 of 45

Register on eBay for free today and start buying & selling with millions each week!

FORUMS | Culture | Movies | Music | News | Sports | Sci/Tech | Timeline | TV

Copyright 1994-2017, All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement