When 20-year-old Pedro Algorta jumped on a plane heading to Chile from Uruguay in 1972, he had no idea that moments later he would be stranded in a snow-covered mountain valley having just survived a plane crash.
The plane crash, avalanche and hypothermia proved deadly for all by 16 of the 45 people aboard the flight. Those 16 were stuck in the Andes for 71 days, surviving on a diet superhuman mental stamina and cannibalism.
“Staying alive was always the main task, for which it was necessary to eat well, but not from a rational decision, rather from an instinctive imperative,” Pedro said in an interview with Vice. “I always had a hand or something in my pocket, and when I could, I would begin to eat, to put something in my mouth, to feel that I was getting nourished.”
CREDIT: PEDRO ALGORTA / FACEBOOK
For 35 years, Algorta never really talked about his experience, he didn’t have nightmares, he didn’t talk about it like other fellow survivors, he didn’t even think about what he had to do in the mountains to survive. That changed when he decided to write his book Into the Mountains and resurface all the memories to tell his story.
In his book, he describes the plane crash, how difficult it was to be part of a group of survivors and how, as a group, they made the decision to eat the dead.
“…Without convincing ourselves with logical thoughts, we just responded to our weakness, to our desire to survive,” he told Vice. “A group of us went and picked up one of the bodies that we had and we started to make a small indentation with a piece of glass and then started eating, and that was all. It was the most normal and logical thing that we could do there in order to keep eating.”
And what happened when the survivors were confronted by the families of those who had perished and they had eaten? The families said, “It’s ok.”
Read the entire Algorta interview from Vice here.
Don’t forget to share this story with your friends by clicking the button below!