On October 13, 1972, a plane full of passengers crashed in the Andes mountains. The plane was a Fairchild 227, a model that had a terrible track record for crashing. 23 of 78 the Fairchild 227’s ever built have crashed. The cause of this particular accident was human error, however. The pilot turned north into the Andes, thinking he had already reached a city called Curico directly south of the destination Santiago. The plane entered heavy turbulence, and then promptly crashed into a mountain. It sped down the mountain and eventually stopped, luckily leaving 33 passengers alive.
After the freezing conditions of the first night, five more people die. One man, Nando, was thought to be dead. Miraculously, the freezing temperatures subjected him to hypothermia and protected Nando’s brain from harm due to the crash. A bit of hope arised, until the search was called off after 10 days. The passengers started suffering from starvation. This prompted them to turn to cannibalism to stay alive. They brandished weapons out of the plane windows, and typically ate the meat raw as fires were difficult to build without paper or wood.
Three men go on an expedition to look for a way out after two months have passed. One turns back, but two of them push on and vow to keep trekking until they die. They eventually reached a peak without snow and see a cow, signaling civilization nearby. Shortly later, they see a rancher riding a horse. The man threw him a paper and pencil across the river and Nando wrote him a note explaining the situation. He brought back some soldiers to rescue Nando and Roberto. They were able to retrace their path through the mountain and guide the rescue helicopters to the fuselage to save the rest of the survivors. Sixteen passengers survived in total.