Alive, By Piers Paul Read, Is The Story Of How A Uruguayan Rugby Team And Their Friends Who Survived For Ten Weeks In The Andes After Their Chartered Plane To Chile Crashed.

1135 words - 5 pages

AliveAlive, by Piers Paul Read, is the story of how a Uruguayan rugby team and their friends who survived for ten weeks in the Andes after their chartered plane to Chile crashed. The plane took off on October 12, 1972, from Montevideo for Santiago. Reports of bad weather in the Andes brought the plane down in Mendoza, a small Argentinean town close to the Andes. The boys were disappointed; however, the next day the weather cleared so the plane took off for the Planchon Pass to the south. The flight was routine and the atmosphere relaxed until the pilot turned toward the north to Santiago, Chile. Soon after, the plane hit an air pocket and plunged several hundred feet. There was nervous joking in the cabin until the plane hit a second air pocket that brought it out of the clouds. The real panic hit when the view out the windows was not the lush green valleys of Chile but of a rocky mountain ten feet from the wing. The wing hit the mountain, broke off, and flipped over the body of the plane, cutting off the tail. The plane then plummeted to the ground. However, instead of smashing into the rocks, it landed on its belly and slid down the valley like a toboggan. Although thirty-two out of the original forty-five passengers survived the crash, only twenty-seven survived the night. Soon the survivors became weak because they only received one square of chocolate and a capful of wine a day. Finally, on the tenth day, the religious debate over whether or not to eat the dead bodies was finally discussed. Though everyone decided that it was the right and only thing to do, several could not get past the physical repulsion. Once it became apparent that there would be no rescue, the few who had previously refused now took their first pieces. After they had regained their strength, three boys set out to find the tail for extra supplies. The climb was strenuous, and they hadn't prepared their gear sufficiently. Consequently, they returned after two days in bad shape and without finding anything useful. This caused the morale of the others to plummet. Unlike the governments, the parents had not given up hope that their boys were still alive. The mothers turned to psychics and prayer to help bring their sons home. Some of the fathers went to Chile to search for their sons themselves. After a few weeks all but a devoted few had given up any hope that their sons were alive. Back on the plane, during the seventeenth night, an avalanche struck and buried the boys while they slept. One emerged and immediately set about freeing the others. As he did, they in turn would help to free others. The nineteen survivors spent several days cleaning up after the avalanche. Next they devoted their time to preparing for the next expedition. Three expeditionaries set out on November 15 and found the tail on the first day. In it were plenty of warm clothes and a small amount of food. They spent one night there before setting out again, but the night was so cold that the three almost...

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