Saturday, February 19, 2005

Alive! Comes Alive

The Andes, known for its unique cuisine

Remember this book? In 1972, the Uruguayan rugby team's plane crashed high in the Andes while on its way to a match with Chile.

72 days later, 16 of the 45 people on the flight survived their ordeal. They had to eat their dead teammates to survive.

And this week an American hiker has unexpectedly stumbled on the wallet of a survivor of the crash. Via Sydney Morning Herald:

The wallet's owner, Eduardo Strauch, said memories came flooding back to him of the harrowing 72 days stranded on the mountain at freezing temperatures.

(The wallet) will be handed to Strauch next week. "It reminds me of some happy moments we had up there on the mountain, spiritual moments as well as all the suffering and pain we went through," he said on television.

After 10 days on the mountain, the survivors heard on their radio that rescuers had given them up for dead. That was when they decided to dig up some of the dead bodies they had buried in the snow nearby and eat them.

Of the 45 people on the flight, sixteen survived 72 days on the mountain. They were only rescued when two of the survivors struck out to find help and ran into a Chilean man on horseback.

Shaking Spears has obtained an updated picture of Mr. Strauch, which can be seen here.