Survivor of 1972 Andean plane crash who resorted to cannibalism recalls pain of eating friend’s meat

0

1972 Andean plane crash survivor who resorted to cannibalism to survive in the snow for 72 days remembers fear of eating his friends’ meat but says ordeal “ doesn’t live with him ”

  • José Luis ‘Coche’ Inciarte was one of 16 who escaped death after a crash in 1972
  • He and other survivors were forced to eat their friends’ meat in order to survive
  • Rescued 72 days later after Dr. Roberto Canessa and Nando Parrado found help
  • Spoke today about the pain his ordeal caused him and says the story ‘didn’t leave him’

A plane crash survivor who resorted to cannibalism to avoid starvation recalled the mental confusion he faced when trying to eat the bodies of his friends.

José Luis ‘Coche’ Inciarte was one of 16 men who escaped death when their chartered plane crashed into the Andes between Chile and Argentina on October 13, 1972.

They were rescued 72 days later after survivors Dr. Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado, and Antonio Vizint walked for 10 days to get help, but some who remained at the crash site were forced to retrieve the corpses of their dead friends. eat to survive.

Coche, who appeared on This Morning today, explained that he had to make “a great effort of energy and spirit” to eat the meat of his friends, but insisted that his fear does not “live with him.”

José Luis 'Coche' Inciarte (rear, second from right) was one of 16 men who escaped death when their chartered plane crashed into the Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina on October 13, 1972.

José Luis ‘Coche’ Inciarte (rear, second from right) was one of 16 men who escaped death when their chartered plane crashed into the Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina on October 13, 1972.

After being asked if he had processed his memories, he said, ‘No, the story doesn’t live with me.

‘I live my life as I imagined in those days and when I have problems I think about the Andes and the problem seems very little to the others, so it helps me, but it’s not part of my life.’

Coche was one of 45 passengers on board Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 when it struck a fog-shrouded mountain range on a flight from Santiago to Montevideo.

Twelve men died in a collision, another five within hours and another week later. Tragedy struck again on the 17th day of their ordeal when an avalanche killed eight other passengers.

Coche appeared on This Morning today and spoke of the difficulty he had in “making a great effort of energy and spirit” to eat the meat of his friends.

He told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford that his fear doesn't 'live with him' today

He told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford that his fear doesn't 'live with him' today

He told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford that his fear doesn’t ‘live with him’ today

The survivors had little food and no heat source in the harsh conditions at more than 3,600 meters.

Faced with famine and reports on the radio that the search for them had ceased, those who were alive fed on the dead passengers kept in the snow.

“There was no other option if you wanted to stay alive,” said Coche. ‘We met up and argued whether or not to do it, not doing it seemed to mean death, everyone decided to eat.

“ When you went to take a piece of meat, your friend’s body, their frozen body, the hand doesn’t obey and you have to put in a great effort of energy and mind to make your arm obey, and then it obeys, not immediately.

The group of survivors was rescued 72 days later after survivors Dr.  Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado and Antonio Vizint had gone on a 10-day trip to get help.

The group of survivors was rescued 72 days later after survivors Dr.  Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado and Antonio Vizint had gone on a 10-day trip to get help.

The group of survivors was rescued 72 days later after survivors Dr. Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado and Antonio Vizint had gone on a 10-day trip to get help.

“It was the same with opening the mouth to put it in the mouth and swallow it.”

The group was rescued when Canessa, Parrado and Vizint encountered the Chilean shepherd Sergio Catalán, who fed them and then alerted the authorities.

When asked if he thought he would get out alive, Coche said, ‘Most days I thought I was going to get out of there … I was very confident they would get somewhere and they did.

“But on other days, in those awful days when we were waiting for them, me [thought] that they wouldn’t get anywhere, so I set my date of death on December 24th. ‘

Coche’s poignant story was told in the 1993 film Alive, and the survivor told how accurate the film is.

“Some things have been invented and some are true,” he said.

‘The movie is very well done with all the effects, but we never fell into a hole in the snow and the other one is really for me, my actor had a guitar, I’ve never played in all my life.

What happened in the 1972 Andean plane crash, in which survivors resorted to cannibalism while stranded in the mountains for 72 days?

José Luis ‘Coche’ Inciarte was one of 16 men who escaped death after a crash in 1972, when their chartered plane crashed into the bleak Andes mountains between Chile and Argentina on October 13, 1972.

He was one of 45 passengers, including his Old Christians rugby team, on board Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 when it hit a fog-shrouded mountain range as it flew from Santiago to Montevideo.

Twelve men died in a collision, another five within hours and another week later. Tragedy struck again on the 17th day of their ordeal when an avalanche killed eight more passengers.

The survivors had little food and no heat source in the harsh conditions at more than 3,600 meters.

Faced with famine and reports on the radio that the search for them had ceased, those who were alive fed on the dead passengers kept in the snow.

They were rescued 72 days later after Dr. Canessa, then a 19-year-old medical student, was rescued, and another survivor marched for 10 days to get help and found Chilean Sergio Catalán, who fed them and then alerted the authorities.

Their poignant story was told in the 1993 film Alive, but the real trauma of his weeks in the icy trash is still there.

Dr. Roberto Canessa wrote for the Daily Mail in 2016: ‘Despite our grief and shock, we were not desperate. Although we had no radio or telephone contact, we were firmly convinced that our rescue was imminent.

Before the plane lost contact, the Chilean authorities knew we were in the foothills of their country, 100 miles from our destination. And our altimeter read only 7,000 feet (we found out later that this was wrong – the needle got tangled in the crash. In fact, our altitude was much higher).

‘We collected all the food we could find. Although there was very little, we divided what we found evenly and divided the clothes in the luggage among each other. ‘

Advertisement