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Survivors of 1972 Andes plane crash have no regrets about turning to cannibalism

According to an article in Independent, survivors of a plane disaster that happened 50 years ago said they “had no remorse” using cannibalism to delay death long enough to be saved. The tragedy happened on October 13, 1972, when a chartered plane of the Uruguayan Air Force (Flight 571) crashed in the middle of the Andes highlands while transporting a rugby team and their friends and family from Uruguay to Chile due to terrible weather, the outlet added. In addition to the 29 people who perished in the collision, 13 more perished in an avalanche that occurred less than three weeks after the collision.

On October 13, 2022, the unfortunate survivors reunited to mark the 50th anniversary of the “Miracle in the Andes” disaster and shared their memories of the struggles they faced in order to survive.

Roberto Canessa, a medical student, proposed the notion of consuming the dead bodies that were strewn around the debris because there was nothing left to eat. 

He was the first to use a piece of glass to sever the bodies of his buddies.

According to Canessa, “I had to go to their families afterwards to explain,” according to Independent. 

He added that if he had passed away and “they had exploited me to live,” he would have thought it a “honour.”

Another crash survivor, Ramon Sabella, told the UK publication The Times, “Of course, the thought of consuming human flesh was disgusting. 

It was challenging to swallow. However, we adapted to it.” Before turning to muscle and brain, the survivors first ate strips of skin and fat. In a sense, Sabella said, “Our friends were some of the world’s first organ donors; they helped to feed us and keep us alive.”

Despite their best efforts, the rescuers were unable to find any survivors amid the deep snow. 

According to the New York Post, the survivors learned that the hunt for them had been suspended after ten days via radio.

The two survivors, Canessa and Parrado, set out on a 10-day journey to seek assistance two months after the catastrophe. 

They carried rugby socks made of human flesh and a makeshift sleeping bag.

The survivors were located by helicopters carrying rescue crews on December 22, 1972, and the following day they were transported to safety.

“Alive: The Story of Andes Survivors,” a book by Piers Paul, chronicles the horrible events that befell the survivors after the plane crashed. 1993 saw the release of a Hollywood version of it.

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