Marsha's Reviews > Miracle in the Andes

Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado
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Feb 04, 11

it was amazing
Read from January 30 to February 03, 2011

In the early 1970s, Piers Paul Read’s bestseller “Alive” was published telling the story about a ruby team as well as some of their family and friends who were abandoned after their plane crashed in the Andes. Due to the crash, some passengers were immediately killed, some were badly injured, while others initially survived with barely a bruise or scratch. First they anxiously waited for their rescue. Dealing with cold weather, they were unprepared with light clothing and no food other than some rations of chocolate. I read Read’s book when I was a teenager with fanaticism.

Thirty years later, Nando Parrado wrote his story of the survival in his book, which was so interesting, it was difficult to put down. Nando had sustained a head injury in the crash and was unconscious for three days. But he felt that probably the cold air helped to start healing his wound.

His mother was one passenger who was killed during the crash. His sister Suzy survived for several days. Her injuries were massive and she was in constant pain and delirious. Nando tried to comfort her and keep her as warm as he could. But it upset him in knowing that he could not do anything for her pain and that if he were able to get her to a hospital, she would survive. After her inevitable death, Nando felt depressed. Having lost his mother and sister, his only real need to survive was to see his father again.

After days of no rescue, the survivors knew that they needed to do what they could to help themselves. They rationed their chocolate, and they worked as a team to come up with solutions for some of their problems. For instance, one of the ruby players saw that the plane’s seat cushions could be removed and they used them as light blankets to help keep them warmer. In the high attitude, the thin air was making the survivors thirsty. To keep themselves hydrated they constantly melted snow to drink.

They tried to explore ways to travel the mountains to get help. One crew of men explored this idea. But after only a few days, they returned looking like they aged to old men. More preparation was needed. Nando knew the survivors needed food and came to the rational conclusion that the dead bodies of their teammates and friends should be considered meat. As awful as it sounded, Nando knew that their friends’ death could help buy them time and give the survivors life while they tried to figure out how to get out of their predicament. They ate different parts of the bodies including the livers and hearts.

There was initially a lot of “meat” so the survivors agreed out of respect for Nando, not to touch his mother or sister Suzy unless things get desperate. As days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, they start to run low on this frozen meat.

Nando and other survivors twice explored the mountain again. And then on their second quest, they finally found help. When Nando gets to shower and see himself in a mirror, he is shocked by the view of his thin self, viewing his bones protruding from his skin.

Upon his return home, Nando discovers his father has sold or given away all of his things. His father thought he would never see his wife, son or daughter again. His lost was unbearable. Nando was able to confirm to his father the deaths of his mother and sister, but it was a bittersweet moment for his dad to see that Nando had survived the ordeal. Nando explained how much closer he became to his father after the tragedy, as they were able to share a separate bond over their lost. However, his father felt guilt that he could not protect his family and felt a sense of failure.

After reading this book, I may want to read “Alive” again in the future. Nando feels that it was love that kept him going. It was his need to see his father again. Nando married and had children and a successful small business, and learned to cherish life since you never know when it might be taken away.
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01/30/2011 page 108
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