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The tale of the “Society of the Snow” survivors is a testament to the indomitable human spirit. In 1972, tragedy struck when Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed into the Andes mountains, resulting in the loss of 45 lives, including members of a Uruguayan rugby team, their supporters, friends, and family. Miraculously, 16 individuals survived this harrowing ordeal and spent 72 days battling the elements before rescue arrived. This article delves into the inspiring post-1972 Andes plane crash journeys of these survivors, shedding light on their resilience, achievements, and the enduring bonds forged during those grueling days.
The 1972 Andes Plane Crash
The story begins on October 13, 1972, when Flight 571 met its tragic fate in the Andes. The survivors, including the members of the rugby team and some family members, were left stranded in the unforgiving mountains, facing extreme cold, hunger, and hopelessness. Their ordeal was a true test of human endurance.
The Survivors’ Remarkable Achievements
1. Roberto Canessa – Pediatric Cardiologist and Speaker
Roberto Canessa, one of the survivors portrayed by Matías Recalt in the film, turned his life around in a remarkable way. Initially a medical student during the crash, Canessa went on to become a prominent pediatric cardiologist. He not only saved lives but also became a motivational speaker, inspiring countless individuals with his story. Additionally, he taught at the University of the Republic graduate school and even ran for Uruguayan President in 1994.
2. Gustavo Zerbino – Director and CEO
Gustavo Zerbino, played by Tomás Wolf, emerged as a leader in the world of sports. He became the Director and CEO of the Uruguayan Rugby Federation, a position he continues to hold to this day. Beyond the rugby field, Zerbino excels in adversity management, leadership, and motivation. His journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in overcoming adversity.
3. Eduardo Strauch – Architect and Painter
Eduardo Strauch, portrayed by Rafael Federman, channeled his survival experience into a career as an architect and painter. He co-founded an architectural studio and co-authored the book “Out of the Silence: After the Crash” in 2019. His artistic endeavors reflect the resilience and creativity that emerged from the darkest hours.
4. Álvaro Mangino – A Quiet Life and Contribution to a Book
Álvaro Mangino, played by Juan Caruso, chose a quieter path after his survival. He contributed to the book “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors” by Piers Paul Reed, ensuring that the world would know their story. In addition to this, he married, found work in air conditioning and heating, and is now a cherished grandfather in Montevideo.
5. Nando Parrado – Author, Presenter, Entrepreneur
Nando Parrado, portrayed by Agustín Padrella, co-authored the book “Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home” in 2006. He is now 74 years old, living in Montevideo, and has participated in documentaries about the event. Parrado also works as a TV presenter, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, sharing his incredible journey with the world.
6. Antonio “Tintin” Vizintín – A Multi-Faceted Career
Antonio “Tintin” Vizintín, played by Agustín Della Corte, celebrated his 70th birthday in 2023. After the crash, he pursued a diverse career that included studying law, working in plastic packaging and the food industry, and becoming Vice President of the Uruguayan Rugby Union. He also served on the Administrative Board for the Viven Foundation, making a positive impact on society. Vizintín’s journey is a testament to resilience and adaptability.
The Enduring Bonds
The survivors of the Andes plane crash share a bond that is unbreakable. They maintain a tradition of gathering annually on December 22 for a ritual commemoration of their survival. This deep connection was palpable during an emotional reunion while watching “Society of the Snow,” a film that accurately depicted the grim details of their harrowing ordeal. The survivors’ lives reflect resilience, diverse achievements, and an enduring connection forged in the crucible of the Andes.
Is Society of the Snow Survivors Still Alive?
As of now, 14 survivors from the 1972 Andes plane crash, the inspiration behind Netflix’s “Society of the Snow,” are still alive. The crash occurred on October 13, 1972, involving Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. Out of the 45 passengers, 29 lost their lives, and the 16 survivors faced unimaginable challenges for 72 days before rescue.
Notable survivor Dr. Roberto Canessa, a medical student during the crash, became a renowned pediatric cardiologist. The survivors, including Nando Parrado and Carlitos Páez, wrote books and became motivational speakers, sharing their experiences. They maintain a tradition, gathering annually on December 22 for a ritual commemoration.
This bond was evident during an emotional reunion while watching “Society of the Snow,” which accurately depicted the grim details of their harrowing ordeal. The survivors’ lives reflect resilience, diverse achievements, and an enduring connection forged in the crucible of the Andes.
Society of the Snow – The Film
“Society of the Snow” is a gripping 2023 survival thriller directed by J. A. Bayona. It revolves around the 1972 Andes flight disaster in Uruguay and is based on Pablo Vierci’s book. The film authentically portrays the harrowing experiences of the 16 survivors, most of whom Vierci knew from childhood. The cast, predominantly composed of Uruguayan and Argentine newcomers, brings authenticity to the narrative.
The movie premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival and received rave reviews, with some hailing it as Bayona’s best work. The theatrical release began in Uruguay on December 13, 2023, followed by Spain on December 15, and the US on December 22. Netflix users could stream the film starting January 4, 2024. Notably, “Society of the Snow” earned a spot on the December shortlist for the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, representing Spain.
What Happened to the Survivors of Society of the Snow: FAQs
- What is “Society of the Snow” about?
“Society of the Snow” is a 2023 survival thriller directed by J. A. Bayona, depicting the real-life 1972 Andes flight disaster and the 72-day struggle for survival by 16 survivors.
- How did the survivors of the 1972 Andes plane crash rebuild their lives?
Survivors like Roberto Canessa became a renowned pediatric cardiologist, Gustavo Zerbino rose to become the Director and CEO of the Uruguayan Rugby Federation, and Nando Parrado became an author, presenter, and entrepreneur.
- How many survivors are still alive today?
As of now, 14 survivors from the 1972 Andes plane crash are still alive, with notable figures like Dr. Roberto Canessa and Nando Parrado continuing to lead remarkable lives.
- When did “Society of the Snow” premiere, and where can it be streamed?
The film premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival and was theatrically released in Uruguay, Spain, and the US in December 2023. It is available for streaming on Netflix since January 4, 2024.
- Did “Society of the Snow” receive critical acclaim?
Yes, the film received positive reviews, with some critics considering it J. A. Bayona’s best work. It also earned a place on the December shortlist for the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, representing Spain.