By Obinna Odenigbo
On this day in 1972, the last sixteen survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued.
The event also known as the Andes flight disaster or The Miracle of t
he Andes (El Milagro de los Andes) involved the tragic crash on October 13 1972 of the flight carrying 45 people.
More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash and several others quickly succumbed to cold and injury. Of the 29 who were alive a few days after the accident, another eight were killed by an avalanche that swept over their shelter in the wreckage.
The last 16 survivors were rescued on this very day (23 December) in 1972, more than two months after the crash.
The survivors had little food and no source of heat in the harsh conditions at over 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) altitude.
Faced with starvation and radio news reports that the search for them had been abandoned, the survivors fed on the dead passengers who had been preserved in the snow.
Rescuers did not learn of the survivors until 72 days after the crash when passengers Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, after a 10-day trek across the Andes, found Chilean arriero Sergio Catalán, who gave them food and then alerted authorities about the existence of the other survivors.
NoCoolStory is committed to refresh our memories on remarkable anniversaries like this which especially underline the survival instincts of the human race.