Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read is the unimaginable mental, physical, and moral struggle by airplane crash survivors to stay alive during a ten-week ordeal in the Cordillera De Los Andes of South America. In 1972, a small aircraft carrying 40 team members, staff, family, and friends of a Uruguayan rugby team along with 5 crew members en route to Chile, smashes into a mountain in Argentina killing dozens aboard, however nearly two-dozen manage to survive the impact. On a patched up radio receiver they find out that the search for the plane has been called off, so the crash victims are forced to rely on their own initiative to endure the harsh conditions at such a high altitude. Several more die of injuries suffered in the crash, inadequate medical supplies, a subsequent avalanche, and prolonged exposure before sixteen fortunate individuals are rescued.
How they were able to survive is more bizarre than the fact that they survived. With no left food they were forced to resort to cannibalism of their deceased teammates frozen and buried in snow corpses in order to live. Reluctant and disgusted at the prospect at first, they ate the flesh of the dead with a determination to live. The young men fear never being spotted on the mountain side, so have two individuals hike their way down into the valley below to summon help for their stranded comrades.
This report prepared by David Fletcher