Nando Parrado’s Impressive Feat
Fernando “Nando” Seler Parrado’s story is quite amazing. He was only 23 when he experienced something that completely changed his life. Nando Parrado was the star of the “Miracle in the Andes”, which happened in South America during the 1970s.
A private plane carrying the Uruguayan rugby team crashed into one of the peaks of the Andes Mountains in Chilean territory. The team was on its way to participate in an international tournament. 45 people were on that plane. After a week, only 27 people were still alive. In the end, only 16 survived, mostly thanks to Nando.
The accident happened at about 13,000 feet in a rocky area that was completely covered in snow. Nothing and no one lived there.
The fatal accident
The plane crash happened on October 13, 1972. Although the plane was working perfectly, the winds suddenly changed direction and the pilot hadn’t taken this variable into account. He continued his journey, unaware that he had strayed from his course. The weather was bad and the visibility was poor. That’s why the aircraft suddenly hit a mountain.
The pilot had incorrectly reported his coordinates. Therefore, when a rescue mission took place, they found no trace of the plane. The search was called off just a week later.
Meanwhile, the survivors organized themselves to care for the sick, to ration the scarce supplies they had, and to try to send signals to ask for help. The leader of all these efforts was also the team captain, Marcelo Pérez.
Nando Parrado was one of the survivors
Nando Parrado traveled with his mother and sister. His mother died instantly when the plane crashed. His sister survived, but she was hurt. Meanwhile, Nando was between life and death. He was unconscious for three days and was tended to by his companions until he woke up. Then, he dedicated himself to taking care of his sister until she died.
This young Uruguayan and mechanical engineering student had a low profile within the group. However, his will to survive seemed to be greater than the others’, despite his losses. All Nando could think about was how to get out of there.
The young people began to die one by one. This made Nando decide to try to cross the mountain range by himself to be able to reach an inhabited place and ask for help. In the end, he convinced his teammate Roberto Canessa to accompany him. The two embarked on a really dangerous journey. They achieved their goal ten days later, with only a ration of food and no climbing equipment or shelter.
A great controversy
Nando Parrado and his companion took the authorities to the crash site the same day they came into contact with civilization. His 14 companions were saved thanks to this. The news went viral within a few hours. However, when asked how they had survived without eating for more than 2 months, a controversial story surfaced.
The young people had decided to eat human flesh. They fed on the corpses that lay under the snow since they didn’t have any other food source. This became a scandal.
In Nando Parrado’s own words: “When you have one option, you take one option. If you have two options, you can analyze and decide. But if there’s only one… It’s not a mystery, it’s not complicated. It’s easier than you think because it’s the only option”.
Nando Parrado managed to rebuild his life with only one idea in mind: he had to fight to do only what he liked. That led him to become a race car driver. He later married the woman of his dreams and is now immensely happy.