10 People Who Survived the Impossible

Forced to Eat Human Flesh
Former members of the Uruguayan rugby team "Old Christians Club" who survived the plane crash in the Andes, posed for a picture along with the Chilean air force pilot who airlifted them and the physician, who attended them in Santiago, 2002. © Reuters/CORBIS

On Oct. 13, 1972, a Uruguayan air force plane, in route from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile, crashed in a pass in the Andes mountains. On board was the Old Christians Club, a rugby team, and family members who were headed to a match against a Chilean team. Of the 45 people on board, 25 survived, but eight of them were killed two weeks later when an avalanche hit the crash site.

Trapped in the snow at an altitude of more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters), the survivors eventually resorted to one of the most grisly acts of self-preservation imaginable — eating the flesh of dead friends and family members who were preserved in the cold. After more than two months without rescue, two of the athletes, 21-year-old Fernando Parrado and 19-year-old Roberto Canessa decided to hike off into the wilderness in a desperate search for help.

After 10 days, they encountered a livestock herder, and the next day, a search team in helicopters reached the survivors. Their story was told in the book and the movie, both called "Alive."

Forty years later, the survivors finally went to Santiago and played the game that they had missed due to the crash [sources: Henao, BBC News].