Weird History

How The Crash of Uruguayan AF Flight 571 Drove A Rugby Team To Cannibalism

On Oct. 13, 1972, a plane carrying 45 passengers, including the Old Christians Uruguayan rugby team, crashed in the Andes between Chile and Argentina. The Uruguayan Air Force flight 571 survivors believed they would be rescued within days. They could not have predicted how long their ordeal would last or that they would become famous as the "Andes mountains cannibals."

Of the 27 passengers who survived the impact, only 16 returned home alive when they were finally rescued over two months after the crash. In order to survive on an Andes mountainside, the rugby team crash survivors were forced to consume the flesh of fellow passengers who passed away.

Their plight has been referred to as the "miracle of the Andes" considering the incredible odds many of them beat to eventually return home. By the time they were rescued, search parties had been called off. Before resorting to cannibalism, many of them prayed to God to give them guidance. But they were starving, and while it couldn't have been an easy decision, they found the courage to cut into the bodies of their once co-passengers in order to sustain themselves. 

Following their rescue, the Uruguay rugby team's cannibalism made headlines all over the world. Many were stunned by their actions. Several of the survivors wrote books, and the movie Alive is based on their traumatic incident. Read on to learn more facts about the Andes flight disaster and just what a person can endure before they are driven to cannibalism.