Andes plane crash survivors who became world's most infamous cannibals have no regrets for eating the dead

Andes plane crash survivors who became world's most infamous cannibals have no regrets for eating the dead
Survivors of Andes plane crash say they were forced to resort to cannibalism (Screenshot from Paraguay TV/YouTube and CGTN/YouTube)

LONDON, ENGLAND: The survivors of the 1972 Andes flight crash say they have ‘no regrets’ over resorting to cannibalism and eating their dead co-passengers to beat death long enough to be rescued.

Uruguayan Air Force flight 571, carrying a team of amateur rugby players and their supporters from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago in Chile crashed into the Andes Mountains on October 13, 1972. 12 out of 45 passengers on the flight died right at the scene, while another 17 succumbed to the bitter temperatures and severe injuries later on. Only 16 people managed to survive the crash and faced a grueling 72-day wait before their eventual rescue on December 23.

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Recalling the spine-chilling ordeal, Ramon Sabella, a successful businessman now, told The Sunday Times in London that they did what they had to do to survive. "Of course, the idea of eating human flesh was terrible, repugnant," Sabella said. "It was hard to put in your mouth. But we got used to it." Sabella revealed Roberto Canessa, a medical student, suggested that they should eat the bodies of the deceased in order for the rest of them to survive. "(Carlos) Paez said there was no other option for the young survivors, noting for the morbidly curious that human meat 'doesn't taste of anything, really,'" a report by DailyMail states.

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The Story of the Andes Survivors' by Piers Paul Read (right), UK, 6th May 1974.
Nando Parrado (left) and Roberto Canessa (centre), former members of the Uruguayan rugby team who survived an air crash in the Andes on Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, attend a press conference after their experiences were documented in the book 'Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors' by Piers Paul Read (right), UK, 6th May 1974 (Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sabella said they resorted to Cannibalism with the consent of the rest of the team and used glass pieces to take out the flesh from their friend’s body. He explained the survivors even made a pact “that if one of us died, the others were obliged to eat their bodies.” “I had to go to their families later to explain,” he said, but added he would have considered it an “honor” should he have died and “they had used me to live.”

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Screenshot from CGTN/YouTube
Screenshot from CGTN/YouTube

Speaking to the media outlet, Carlos Paez, another survivor of the crash, said that it is now the survivors’ responsibility to travel the world and share the horrific story. "I've done six million miles on American Airlines," he said, noting his lack of fear of flying. "I'm condemned to tell this story forever more, just like the Beatles always having to sing Yesterday." It was not that difficult to eat human flesh, and it “doesn’t taste of anything, really,” Paez told the newspaper. The group of survivors began with eating skin fat and then progressed to eating muscles and brains.

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Screenshot from CGTN/YouTube
Screenshot from CGTN/YouTube

After spending nearly two months in the mountain, the group lost their hopes but Canessa and Fernando Parrado, who were desperate to return to their normal lives, decided to leave the crash site and find help. With human flesh in their socks, the duo walked down 3 miles and spent 10 days to find help. The duo finally saw Sergio Catalán, a Chilean shepherd, who traveled 100 miles to inform the authorities about the survivors. Soon, a multi-day helicopter operation was initiated to rescue the rest of the survivors, many of whom had lost half their body weight.

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Screenshot from CGTN/YouTube
Screenshot from CGTN/YouTube

The survivors are listed as Roberto Canessa, Fernando Parrado, Carlos Rodriguez, Jose Algorta, Alfredo Delgado, Daniel Fernandez, Roberto Francios, Roy Harley, Jose Inciarte, Alvaro Mangino, Javier Methol, Ramon Sabella, Adolfo Strauch, Eduardo Strauch, Antonio Vizintia and Gustavo Zerbino.

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Their story was immortalized in the best-selling book, 'Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors', by Piers Paul Read. It was later turned into a 1993 movie titled 'Alive'. A new Netflix adaptation is also in the works.

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