The Andes crash also known as the "Miracle of the Andes" occurred in 1972 when a chartered military plane carrying an amateur rugby team bound for Chile crashed in a remote area in the Andes. Out of the 45 people onboard, consisting of rugby players, their family members, supporters, and crew members, only 16 were able to survive the 72-day ordeal before help arrived.
What was even more shocking than the harsh conditions they had to deal with was the fact that they admitted to resorting to cannibalism in order to survive as this excerpt explains: "The so-called "Miracle of the Andes" gained global notoriety when the survivors, who were devout Catholics, admitted they had eaten parts of their dead companions' bodies to stay alive."
The plane which was carrying the rugby team from the Argentian city of Mendoza vanished from the radar en route to Santiago, Chile. Per reports, a search for survivors was conducted, but they were unable to locate the plane: "Aircraft from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay search for the plane but fail to spot the white fuselage against the snow."
The plane had hit a ridge and crashed killing both the pilot, co-pilot, and several of the passengers. The survivors had to endure sub-zero temperatures and scrounge for food in the snow. The number of survivors was decimated by an avalanche as this excerpt explains: "They describe the scramble to survive at an altitude of nearly 4,000 meters, living in the fuselage and scrounging in the snow for roots and an herb nicknamed "donkey grass" after their food supplies ran out. They also recount the deaths of several survivors in an avalanche."
According to reports, this is when they made the terrible decision to eat their dead friends and family members in order to stay alive: "Even with this strict rationing, their food stock dwindled quickly. There was no natural vegetation and there were no animals on either the glacier or nearby snow-covered mountain. The food ran out after a week, and the group tried to eat parts of the airplane, such as the cotton inside the seats and leather. They became sicker from eating these. Knowing that rescue efforts had been called off and faced with starvation and death, those still alive agreed that, should they die, the others might consume their bodies to live. With no choice, the survivors ate the bodies of their dead friends."
Two months later, Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa managed to make it out of the mountains through waist-deep snow and call for help. A helicopter was dispatched to rescue the remaining survivors.
The events of the Andes crash have been immortalized both in the literary world as the best-selling book "Alive" and in a Hollywood movie.