Andes plane crash survivors retrace steps

Published Oct 11, 2002


Montevidoe, Uruguay - Almost 30 years after their airplane crashed in the Andes and forced them to eat human flesh to stay alive, survivors of an Uruguayan rugby team retraced their fateful flight.

About a dozen former team-mates took a commercial jet to Chile that flew over the snowy, jagged peaks where they fought off cold and hunger for 72 days in a plight made internationally famous by the 1993 Hollywood movie Alive.

Accompanied on the trip by more than 100 family members and current rugby and soccer players, the middle-aged men plan to play a symbolic match this weekend against former members of the Chilean squad they had been scheduled to face prior to the accident on October 13, 1972.

There also will be a mass, a formal dinner and speeches.

"It was very difficult for me to get on the plane. It wasn't the plane as such. It was the fact that the squad was there again," Roy Harley, one of the survivors, told a news conference after landing in the Chilean capital Santiago.

Of the 45 passengers on the original flight from Uruguay to Santiago, Chile, 13 were killed upon impact when the plane plowed into a mountain due to pilot error.

Others died soon after from their wounds and a massive avalanche.

Only 16 of the passengers were rescued.

Related Topics: