In the first hours there was nothing, no fear or sadness, just a black and perfect silence.
Nando Parrado was unconscious for three days before he woke to discover that the plane carrying his rugby team, as well as their family members and supporters, to an exhibition game in Chile had crashed somewhere deep in the Andes. He soon learned that many were dead or dying—among them his own mother and sister. Those who remained were stranded on a lifeless glacier at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, with no supplies and no means of summoning help. They struggled to endure freezing temperatures, deadly avalanches, and then the devastating news that the search for them had been called off.
As time passed and Nando’s thoughts turned increasingly to his father, who he knew must be consumed with grief, Nando resolved that he must get home or die trying. He would challenge the Andes, even though he was certain the effort would kill him, telling himself that even if he failed he would die that much closer to his father. It was a desperate decision, but it was also his only chance. So Nando, an ordinary young man with no disposition for leadership or heroism, led an expedition up the treacherous slopes of a snow-capped mountain and across forty-five miles of frozen wilderness in an attempt to find help.
Thirty years after the disaster Nando tells his story with remarkable candor and depth of feeling. Miracle in the Andes —a first person account of the crash and its aftermath—is more than a riveting tale of true-life adventure: it is a revealing look at life at the edge of death and a meditation on the limitless redemptive power of love.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Miracle in the Andes|
|Release Date: 05-09-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Miracle in the Andes|
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Miracle in the Andes
It was Friday, the thirteenth of October. We joked about that—flying over the Andes on such an unlucky day, but young men make those kinds of jokes so easily. Our flight had originated one day earlier in Montevideo, my hometown, its destination Santiago, Chile. It was a chartered flight on a Fairchild twin-engine turboprop carrying my rugby team—the Old Christians Rugby Club—to play an exhibition match against a top Chilean squad. There were forty-five people aboard, including four crew members—pilot, copilot, mechanic, and steward. Most of the passengers were my teammates, but we were also accompanied by friends, family members, and other supporters of the team, including my mother, Eugenia, and my younger sister, Susy, who were sitting across the aisle and one row in front of me. Our original itinerary was to fly nonstop to Santiago, a trip of about three and a half hours. But after just a few hours of flying, reports of bad weather in the mountains ahead forced the Fairchild’s pilot, Julio Ferradas, to put the plane down in the old Spanish colonial town of Mendoza, which lies just east of the Andean foothills.
We landed in Mendoza at lunchtime with hopes that we would be back in the air in a few hours. But the weather reports were not encouraging, and it was soon clear that we would have to stay the night. None of us liked the idea of losing a day from our trip, but Mendoza was a charming place, so we decided to make the best of our time there. Some of the guys relaxed in sidewalk cafés along Mendoza’s broad, tree-lined boulevards or we