I Am Alive: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash

Released in 2010 I Am Alive: Surviving the Plane Crash explores the tragedy which was that of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, a charter plane carrying 45 passengers which on October 13, 1972, vanished over the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world.

Through interviews with Nando Parrado, a surviving member of the crash itself and the use of reenactments we learn of the 72-day struggle for survival which followed the initial crash. During this time the world at large assumed that all passengers had been killed, but for the 16 survivors whom were now facing extreme sub-zero temperatures and what they experienced was worse than death.

Fighting to stay alive the groups hope was non-existent but against all odds one man managed to lead an expedition into the mountains in a desperate attempt to reach civilisation. This is an unflinching account of the 72 days of suffering that followed the crash and the extremes in which people will turn to in order to survive.

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  1. To – Shane McGrath

    It’s real easy for you to judge other people while you’re sitting on your sofa warm and comfortable.

    So I guess then there is nobody that you love? You don’t have any family, animals that you love, a
    girlfriend / wife, children, etc? You don’t have ONE single reason to try and survive an extreme situation? Do you eat animals? Animals are God’s children EVERY bit as much as the few good people on this Earth are, yet billions of people think nothing at all of eating animal flesh, so why should eating a human in a desperate situation / the ultimate fight for survival be any different? I have family that love me, but more important to me are my animals that love me more than anyone else ever has (as I love them) and depend on me for their survival. So if I had been on that plane, I would’ve been disgusted, yeah, but I would’ve eaten the dead if that were my ONLY hope of surviving and getting home to my animals and my family.

    Kristel is absolutely right, there is no dignity in death for most of us, but especially Earth’s elderly who, thanks to the Catholic church (world’s biggest pedophile ring) and gutless politicians, are forced to languish & suffer for months or years in horrible, abusive conditions in long term care facilities. For them, death is a blessing when he finally comes. However, for young, healthy people who have a chance to survive and want to survive to just give up, is unthinkable.

    Besides, SHANE McGRATH, do you have any idea how horrible death by starvation is? I doubt you have the first clue. The hunger drives some people mad, then the hunger eventually passes, but after your body has burned all it’s stored fat, you start to bloat and bloat and bloat, while enduring terrible abdominal pain and you lose the strength to stand or even crawl, until your heart eventually loses the strength to contract (beat) and circulate your blood, which thickens, settles and turns your skin a purplish-black color. When you finally die of starvation, your body is so thin (other than the abdominal bloating) and your face is so sunken in your own mother wouldn’t recognize you. Dignity? Not the word I would use to describe death by starvation.

    What those two KIDS (only 19 or 20) Nando and his friend did is the most incredible thing I have ever heard of – they CLIMBED, DESCENDED and walked their way out of a mountain range with no climbing equipment whatsoever in the middle of winter!!!! That group never would’ve survived the entire winter. All of those who survived that crash – 100% pilot error – owe their lives to Nando and the 2nd young man, I wish I could remember his name. The determination, their incredible spirit and Nando’s steadfast belief that their camaraderie / brotherly love for each other and God’s love for them would help them make it to safety. I was only 2 years old in October, 1972, but my mom & dad remember that terrible crash like it was yesterday and how shocked and happy the world was when learning of a small group of survivors.

    In the 1994 movie about this ordeal, titled ‘Alive!’, the one line that stands out in my memory is when the medical student first suggests eating the dead to survive. One of the guys says ‘I don’t know how I could ever face my family again.’ The med student replies, ‘Well you can face them alive, I’m sure they’d prefer that’. WELL PUT!!! I absolutely love that an enormous metal cross was erected on the summit of that mountain, above their crash site that is shown at the end of the movie, while the song ‘Ava Marie’. That final scene and the scene when the small group hears a strange sound, then an SR chopper appears right in front of the group with Nando holding up the small, red shoe. Wonderful!! This is the most amazing tragedy / survival story I’ve ever seen.

    I haven’t watched the movie in years and will have to watch it again on Hulu over the weekend.

  2. This film is not about the accident in the Andes (Chile, 1972), but about an accident in the Swiss Alps (Switzerland, 1946) … The description on this page is totally misleading

  3. Wow. What a story. Faced with that situation and the will to survive, they did something extraordinary, all of them.

  4. Nothing heroic or spiritual about it, Should have died with dignity.
    All I hear in this is excuses to justify what they have done.
    I can bet you they constantly live with it every time they go to sleep, They try and say otherwise but once it’s done there is no going back to normal!

    • They had courage and strength. They were not cowards. They did what they had to do in order to survive.

      There is no dignity in death. Thinking so is just an act of fooling oneself.

      • Nice comment, Kristel. I assume ShaneMcGraths comment was about eating human flesh. I find it a challenge to put myself in that situation, but it’s really just a conditioned concept, not something that is right or wrong.

  5. Tremendous.