The story of Nando Parrado is one of those that happens only once a century.His real name is Fernando Seler Parrado. He was only 23 when he had an experience that totally changed his life. Nando was the protagonist of the feat that we know as the "miracle of the Andes". This event occurred in South America in the seventies.
A private plane, carrying a Uruguayan rugby team, crashed against one of the many peaks of the Andes,in the Chilean territory. The team was going to participate in an international competition. Including the crew, 45 people were on board. After a week, only 27 of them were alive. In the end, 16 survived, largely thanks to Nando.
The accident occurred at an altitude above 4000 meters.The plane crashed into a rocky area, completely covered in snow. There was no trace of life except the remains of the plane and a group of people who did their best to survive.
The fatal accident
This air accident occurred on October 13, 1972. The flight was proceeding perfectly well untilthe wind suddenly changes direction. However, this variable had not been taken into account by the pilot.The latter continued on his way, without realizing the deviation of the plane. Due to bad weather, visibility was very low. The plane ends up suddenly crashing against a mountain.
The pilot did not correctly record the location coordinates of the aircraft.When the helpers were alerted, they could not find the device. Searches stopped a week later.
Meanwhile,the survivors organized themselves to take care of the wounded,rationing the small supplies they had and trying to throw relief signals. The leader of the team was none other than the captain of the team, Marcelo Pérez.
Nando, one of the survivors
Nando Parrado traveled with his mother and sister. The mother died instantly.The sister survived but was hurt. Nando struggled between life and death. He was unconscious for three days and his companions took care of him until he awoke. He then took care of his sister but she eventually succumbed to his injuries.
This young Uruguayan, a student in mechanical engineering, did not have a very important place in the group. However, his desire to survive was stronger than that of others, despite the losses he had just faced.The group let themselves be driven by inertia while Nando only thought of ways out of this nightmare.
The young people started to die one by one.Nando decided to try to cross the mountain range, alone, and find an inhabited place to ask for help.He managed to convince one of his companions, Roberto Canessa, to accompany him. The two men began a more than dangerous crossing. They had only one ration of food and no equipment to climb the mountains or protect themselves from the cold. But they reached their goal.
A great controversy
Nando and his companion brought the authorities to the scene of the incident as soon as they could come into contact with civilization.Their 14 companions survived thanks to this act of will and decision.The news went around the world in a few hours. However, when asked how they did to survive without food for more than two months, a very controversial story emerges.
The young people had decided to eat human flesh. They had to feed on corpses lying in the snowbecause they had nothing else to eat. This aroused and continues to elicit strong criticism. The case turned to scandal.
Nando used the following words:"I lost my mother, sister, and friends, broke my head, was buried under an avalanche, crossed the Andes for help, and returned to the scene. the accident with rescue helicopters, in the middle of a snowstorm.When everything was over, my life was destroyed. I had to rebuild it. My mountain range started after that.
Nando finally finds his father. The latter, seeing him, was only able to pronounce the following words: "Thank you for coming back".He managed to remake his life with one thought in mind: to fight to do what he loved.He became racing driver. And ended up knowing the woman of his life, with whom he married and was extremely happy.