the Story of the Andes Survivors
by Piers Paul Read
I cannot say much about this book. It relates the harrowing experience of the survivors of a plane crash in the Andes mountains in 1972. They were traveling to Santiago, Chile: fifteen teenage boys from a Catholic school headed for a rugby match, along with twenty-five relatives and other people who went along for the passage. When the plane crashed high in the cordillera, it landed in deep snow in an area totally barren of any plant or animal life. Of the forty passengers and several crew members on board, thirty-two survived the crash. At the end of their seventy-two day ordeal, only sixteen were left alive. They managed to live by consuming the bodies of those who died in the crash. The details are gruesome and it can be difficult to read. After their rescue, many of the survivors' attitudes towards life had been irrevocably changed. Reading Alive, it's hard to avoid wondering: if you were in a similar situation, would you resort to the only means of staying alive? It is so difficult to imagine, I don't think anyone can ever know unless they are faced with such an extreme ordeal.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 318 pages, 1974