Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ultra Survival Feat - 1972

The Ultra Digest has had a thread in the last few days about Ultra stories that inspire. One of those stories was about Parrado and Cannessa who hiked for 70miles through the Andes to get help after their plane, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed.

Here is a link with more information about the story and an excerpt:

On December 13, 1972, 62 days after the crash, three of the fittest men (given the generally poor physical conditions of the group), Fernando Parrado, Roberto Canessa, and Antonio Vizintín, decided that the only option was to try to climb out of the mountains to find help. They reckoned that Chile must lie to the west, based on where the sun set and the direction they were headed at the time of the crash.
On the third day of the trek, Parrado and Canessa sent Vizintín back to the crash site as they were rapidly running out of rations. It only took him about three hours to return, after the three-day climb in the other direction.
Ten days after leaving the crash site, Parrado and Canessa reached the other side of the Andes in Los Maitenes, Chile, where they encountered a rancher by the name of Sergio Catalán, who gave them some bread and summoned the authorities.
The following day, those remaining at the crash site heard on their radio that Parrado and Canessa had been successful in finding help. They tidied themselves up as best they could, covered the remains of the corpses that were no longer intact, and awaited their rescuers.
That night, December 22, 1972, a helicopter carrying Canessa and two search and rescue climbers arrived, took on half the survivors, and departed, leaving the climbers and remaining survivors at the crash site until the second helicopter could arrive. This was delayed until the following morning due to a blizzard over the peaks that night, leaving those left behind to once again sleep in the husk of the fuselage.
The second helicopter arrived at daybreak on December 23, and with that, all sixteen survivors were rescued after 72 days.
All the survivors were taken to hospitals in Santiago and treated for dehydration, frostbite, broken bones, scurvy, malnutrition and psychiatric counseling.
Because of the taboo of cannibalism, they explained initially that they had eaten some cheese they carried with them.

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