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One of the survivors of a 1972 plane crash in South America that led those who remained alive to resort to cannibalism has spoken out about his experiences, but says that his ordeal 'doesn't live with him'.
'I had to eat my friends to survive'- This Morning (@thismorning) April 5, 2021
Jose Luis 'Coche' Inciarte endured 72 days in the Andes after a plane crash left him desperately trying to stay alive in a remote location. 'Coche' tells us his story, and why he was forced to do the unthinkable in order to stay alive. pic.twitter.com/Ut97uUlPrB
The crash killed 12 people immediately, five within hours, and one other a week later. After 17 days, an avalanche killed eight more people.
Two of the passengers who survived set off to find help, but those who remained behind were forced to eat the corpses of the dead in order to stay alive.
Speaking on This Morning, Coche said that he had to 'make a great effort of energy and mind' in order to force himself to eat the flesh of his former friends, but said the horror of the ordeal doesn't 'live with him'.
He explained: "No, the story doesn't live with me.
"I live my life as I imagined in those days and when I am having problems I think about the Andes and the problem seems to be very little against the others, so it helps me, but it's not part of my life."
Those who survived the initial crash were left at high altitude with very little food and facing extreme cold weather.
Then, they heard on the radio that the search for the plane had been called off, which left them little option other than to eat the snow-preserved bodies of their fellow passengers.
Coche continued: "There was no other option if you wanted to stay alive,
"We made a meeting between all and we argued whether to do it or not to do it, not to do it seemed to mean to die, everybody decided to eat.
"When you went to take a piece of flesh, the body of your friend, their frozen body, the hand doesn't obey and you have to make a great effort of energy and mind to make your arm obey, and then it obeys, not immediately.
"It was the same with opening mouth to put it inside the mouth and swallow."
Help arrived after 72 days after those who left to find help eventually found a Chilean herdsman who alerted the authorities.
Asked whether he thought he'd make it off the mountain alive, Coche explained: "Most days I thought I was going to go out from there... I had a great confidence with them to reach some place and they did it.
"But other days, in those terrible days that we were waiting for them, I [thought] that they were not going to reach any place, so I put my date of dying on December 24."
The harrowing story was told in the movie Alive in 1993, and Coche said that the portrayal in that film is fairly accurate.
He said: "Some things are invented, and others are true.
"The film is very well done with all the effects, but we never fell into a hole in the snow and the other is really for me, my actor had a guitar, I've never played in my whole life."
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