While we were in Montevideo, Uruguay, we heard that the Andes plane crash museum – “Museo Andes” was the number one attraction in the city according to TripAdvisor.
You may know of the crash better from the hollywood film – Alive!
Here’s a quick account of what happened:
A Uruguayan plane carrying a rugby team crashed into the Andes back on October 13th, 1972.
What followed was one of the most overwhelming accounts of human survival and endurance ever recorded.
At over 4000 meters above sea level the survivors from the crash nearly died due to lack of adequate clothing or food. The crazy sub-zero temperatures on top of this was just unbearable.
Almost immediately, their limited supplies of provisions ran out. For 10 long days they waited to be rescued – but no one came.
They then heard on a small pocket receiver radio that the search was called off – as everyone presumed they were dead.
During the night of Day 16, an unexpected avalanche hit them while they were sleeping in the remains of the plane – while immediately killed 8 people.
In order for them to survive the extreme conditions (-30 degrees celsius), many things had to be re-invented. They learned how to produce water from snow and they used the fabrics from the plane seats as quilts for example.
Their most important necessity was food – because they had none and were slowly starving to death.
They made the very difficult and controversial decision to eat the bodies of their dead friends. This decision even today (as we found out during the tour) still divides the families of all those who were involved in the crash.
After 10 day of hiking through the Andes, two of the survivors finally came across a cattle drover, who ended their 72 days of torture.
That’s a brief outline of the story, but the film is definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it.
The museum is dedicated and honours the memory of the 29 Uruguayans who were killed on the Andes in the crash. The plane was on it’s way from Montevideo to Santiago in Chile. The museum also honours those 16 men who “returned to life” after experiencing one of the most horrific tests of physical and mental endurance ever.
We got a great tour of the museum from the director – Jorg P.A Thomsen who is a personal friend of the survivors. The day before we did the tour, one of the survivors visited the museum to do an interview with a Russian T.V station.
Jorg knows every minute detail from the tragedy also well as additional stories and facts which he regaled to us during our visit.
The entrance fee is $10 and it’s definitely worth seeing. We went for a few hours and got the inside story as well as to see all the pieces of clothing and other artifacts from the crash.
The building is located at 619 Rincon, Montevideo.
As I mentioned above, the director – Jorg was excellent answering all of our questions and providing a real insight into the event.