Alive survivor Nando Parrado reveals the untold harrowing account of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes and its terrible aftermath
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Santa Fe, NM (April 3, 2006) —For the first time, the hero of the Alive tragedy writes his own story. In its May issue, Outside magazine has the exclusive excerpt of survivor Nando Parrado’s new book, Miracle in the Andes (Crown Publishing; available May 9). In 1972, after a terrifying plane crash high in the Andes killed many of Parrado’s Uruguayan rugby teammates and their supporters, Parrado and several others survived for 72 days, living off the only food available-the bodies of their dead friends. Piers Paul Read’s classic book Alive recounted their shocking tale-but this is the first time a survivor has written his own story.
“Nando’s experiences have become one of the most inspiring survival stories of all time,” says Elizabeth Hightower, literary editor of Outside. “I thought that Alive was gripping, but reading this account, told with the eloquence and heart of someone who lived through it, is something else entirely. We experience every tragedy and moment of triumph as if it were our own.”
“I’m very happy to have an excerpt of my book in Outside,” said Parrado. “It’s the magazine which understands survival stories. It understands men like me.”
Parrado was 20 years old when he awoke from a coma to find himself lying among the charred ruins of the team’s chartered plane; his clothes and hair were caked in his own dried blood from a severe head wound. His mother, who had joined him on the trip, was dead, and his sister lay next to him, mortally wounded. One by one, he watched as his friends succumbed to their injuries and the cold. Finally, after 61 days, he embarked with teammate Roberto Canessa on an impossible journey. Wearing rugby cleats and snowshoes made from the plane’s seat cushions, the two starving, weakened men climbed for ten days over some of the most rugged mountains on earth to reach help.
More than 30 years later, Parrado gives incredible new details of how he and 15 people survived the emotional strain, brutal cold, and near starvation. “I never thought I would write a book about my experiences, but I decided to write it for my father,” said Nando Parrado. “The Alive book and movie are very accurate. But having lived that hell, I don’t know if a reader or people sitting in a movie theater can really comprehend the cold that burns like acid and never ends, and the fear that you have inside. I think that what people see as courage, it’s actually fear. I was so afraid, every minute. This wasn’t heroism, or adventure. This was hell.”
Parrado’s exclusive excerpt will appear in Outside‘s May issue, on newsstands April 11. For a sneak preview of the excerpt, and for an exclusive interview with Parrado about his return to the crash site with his family this March, go to www.outsideonline.com. “My daughters stood at the same place I stood for 72 days,” said Parrado. “They were amazed at the decision to climb those rocks and big walls. But when you are pressed by death, you can do things that you think are impossible.”
Watch for Nando Parrado’s appearance on ABC’s Nightline, CBS’s The Early Show, and ESPN’s Cold Pizza.
About Outside Magazine
Since 1977, Outside has been the world leader in publishing the literature of adventure, travel, risk sports, and the active lifestyle. The magazine is perhaps best known for publishing Jon Krakauer’s 1996 firsthand account of that year’s disaster on Mount Everest, which was later expanded into the bestselling contemporary classic Into Thin Air.
Outside is America’s leading active-lifestyle magazine, with an audience of over two million readers worldwide. We are dedicated to covering the people, activities, gear, literature, art, and politics of the world outside. Along with many other accolades, Outside is the only magazine to receive three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence. Please visit our website at www.outsideonline.com.