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I Am Alive: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash (2010)

On Friday, the 13th of October, 1972, a charter plane carrying 45 passengers, including a college rugby team, vanished over the desolate, snow-covered Andes Mountains. For 72 days, the world thought they were dead.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Lentzsch James Lentzsch ... Nando Parrado
Benjamin Josse Benjamin Josse ... Roberto Canessa
Kelly Haitz Kelly Haitz ... Susana Parrado
Cindy Latch Cindy Latch ... Zenia Parrado
Vince Roberts Vince Roberts ... Carlitos Paez
Dorian Roberts ... Eduardo Strauch
Everette Scott Ortiz ... Gustavo Zerbino
Ben Keyworth Ben Keyworth ... Marcelo Perez
Heather Child Heather Child ... Liliana Methol
Mark T. Lee Mark T. Lee ... Javier Methol
Alfred Ramirez Alfred Ramirez ... Panchito Abal
Taylor Witt Taylor Witt ... Antonio Vizintin
Larry Rodriguez Larry Rodriguez ... Col. Julio Ferradas
Tim Wylie Tim Wylie ... Lt. Col. Dante Lagurara
Grayson Howe ... Numa Turcatti


On Friday, the 13th of October, 1972, a charter plane carrying 45 passengers, including a college rugby team, vanished over the desolate, snow-covered Andes Mountains. For 72 days, the world thought they were dead. But for 16 survivors, including 20 year-old Nando Parrado, what they experienced was worse than death. Trapped in the sub-zero degree temperatures for over 72 days, the survivors faced circumstances that no human should ever have to endure. Fighting just to stay alive, hope was a cruel mirage in a landscape that offered nothing but despair and death. Against all odds one man led an expedition into the mountains in a desperate attempt to reach civilization. For the first time ever, the hero of Uruguayan Flight 571, Nando Parrado, tells his story in its entirety. Parrado, who lost his mother, sister, and scores of friends among the 29 victims of Uruguayan Flight 571, shares a complete, candid and unflinching account of the 72 days of suffering that followed the crash, ... Written by AMS Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

20 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Élek: túlélni egy repülőszerencsétlenséget az Andokban See more »

Filming Locations:

Angel Fire, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

AMS Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


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User Reviews

The Andean Saga: Arguably The Greatest Survival Story Of The 20th Century
17 January 2019 | by virek213See all my reviews

There's probably no greater a 20th century survival story than what became known as the Miracle Of The Andes. It began on October 13, 1972, when a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying forty passengers and a crew of five went off course and crashed in the Andes. It came to an end on December 22, 1972, when two of the survivors of the crash hiked thirty-seven miles out of the Andes and west into Chile. Out of the forty passengers, many of whom were members of a Uruguayan rugby crew traveling to Chile to play a match, only sixteen people made it out alive. And in those 72 days, those involved had to make arguably the most horrifying decision imaginable in order to survive. This is the story told by the History Channel's 2010 documentary film I AM ALIVE: SURVIVING THE ANDES PLANE CRASH.

Combining a staged recreation of the events along with interviews from the two men, Fernando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, who made the long trek from the crash site into Chile, plus several other survivors, I AM ALIVE also reveals, though interviews with aeronautical and mountain climbing veterans, aspects of the crash and the subsequent ordeal that were not necessarily known by the public at large, or even the survivors, at the time. For one, the aircraft that was being used to charter the rugby team, the Fairchild, had a very poor safety record at the time. For another, the pilots misjudged their position in flying over the Andes, making a right turn northward toward Santiago well before they would have actually totally crossed the range. The survivors themselves had believed, from the dying words of the pilot, that they had passed the town of Curico in Chile, which meant that the Andes had been breached. But in truth, the fuselage that they had to spend two months surviving in lay on a glacier just within the Argentinean side of the range, between the Tinguiririca Volcano in Chile (fifteen miles to the southwest) and Cerro Sosneado (20 miles due east), at an elevation of 11,700 feet. Because the roof of the Fairchild was white, even the planes that spent seven days flying right over where the fuselage lay could never have seen it, buried as it was in tens of feet of snow. They were given up for dead after the seventh day. And when the survivors ran out of normal food in or near the tenth day of the ordeal, they had to make that terrible decision that defined this tragic saga: to eat the remains of their dead friends in order not only to survive, but to allow Parrado and Canessa the strength to surmount the Andes and get help.

The Andean saga, which was told quite well on the big screen via the 1993 film ALIVE (based on the 1974 book of the same name by English writer Piers Paul Read, who is one of those interviews here), is given further resonance by showing the viewer the stark bareness of the mountain landscape, and the immense dangers they faced, including the avalanche that hit the fuselage seventeen days into the ordeal and snuffed out the lives of eight who survived the initial crash. Each of the sixteen survivors had to endure the kind of psychological horror and trauma that few human beings have ever experienced or are ever likely to experience; and, in the case of Parrado, that included losing his mother and younger sister. But the will not only to survive but to just plain live was what drove Parrado and Canessa to do what they did to save their fourteen companions, and that is the big achievement of the Andean saga.

Those that died during the ordeal, either from what they suffered in the initial crash or the avalanche itself are not glossed over in favor of the "heroes", but are remembered with dignity; and the much-talked-about aspect of cannibalism (or anthropophagy) is handled in a matter-of-fact way far removed from the gruesome sensationalism of SURVIVE!, that infamously horrible 1976 Mexican exploitation film of the incident. I AM ALIVE is probably the definitive documentary of this terrible saga that ultimately becomes a triumph of the human will and a memorial to those lost; and in the end, this is the aspect one should get from watching it.

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