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Plane crash survivors don't regret turning to cannibalism and eating dead passengers to survive

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

Plane crash survivors don't regret turning to cannibalism and eating dead passengers to survive

Survivors of a horrific plane crash which occurred 50 years ago have said they don't regret turning to cannibalism to survive.

On 13 October, 1972, a plane with 45 people on board crashed into the Andes mountains as it flew towards Santiago, Chile.

Flying through poor weather conditions the plane crashed into the mountains, killing 12 people immediately.

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Several others died shortly after the crash due to their injuries and the freezing cold temperatures, while an avalanche later killed more of the stranded passengers.

After 10 days they learned over the radio that the search for them had been called off, meaning if they didn't find some way off the mountains they'd eventually die there themselves.

It was 72 days before all of the 16 survivors were rescued, with new efforts launched after two people from the stricken group trekked across the mountains towards civilisation to seek help.

Survivors of the plane crash shortly after being rescued. Credit: Everett Collection Historical / Alamy Stock Photo
Survivors of the plane crash shortly after being rescued. Credit: Everett Collection Historical / Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to the Sunday Times for the 50th anniversary of the horrific crash, survivors of the disaster have said they did what they had to so they could survive.

The plane crash survivors allegedly resorted to cannibalism, with the food supplies aboard the crashed aircraft not enough to keep them alive before rescue.

Crash survivor Ramon Sabella said eating the flesh of their dead friends to survive felt 'terrible' and 'repugnant' but explained they 'got used to it' as it was that or starve to death.

He said they resorted to cannibalism with the consent of the rest of the group as the survivors 'promised each other that if one of us died, the others were obligated to eat their bodies'.

Roberto Canessa said it would have been an 'honour' if he'd died and his friends had 'used me to live'.

A monument to the crash survivors has been erected at the site where the plane crashed. Credit: Lautaro Soto / Alamy Stock Photo
A monument to the crash survivors has been erected at the site where the plane crashed. Credit: Lautaro Soto / Alamy Stock Photo

Jose Luis Inciarte, known as 'Coche', was one of the survivors who explained the group's desperate decision to turn to cannibalism to survive.

He said it took 'great effort of energy and mind' to eat the flesh of those who died in the plane crash so the surviving passengers could stay alive.

Coche said the group held a meeting where they discussed the unthinkable and came to the conclusion that there was 'no other option'.

The harrowing experience was turned into 1993 film Alive, which survivors working on the movie as technical advisors.

The survivors meet every year on the anniversary of the crash to hold a mass with the families of the victims and on 22 December, the day the rescue efforts began.

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Alamy / Everett Collection Historical / Alamy

Topics: World News, News, Weird

Joe Harker
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