‘Jesus Christ’ cannibals of Uruguayan Flight 571 saw 19 crash survivors eaten

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In October 1972, one of history's most infamous plane crashes took place.

Uruguayan Flight 571 travelling from Carrasco International Airport in Uruguay to Pudahuel Airport in Chile crashed into the Andes in Argentina.

Poor weather and an inexperienced co-pilot who failed to recognise wrong readings on the internal navigation system were ruled as the ultimate cause of the crash.

There were 40 passengers on board – including 19 members of the Old Christians Club rugby union team – and 10 were killed.

But it wasn't the crash itself that caused shock waves around the world.

It took nearly three months for the survivors to be found, and when they were found, only 16 of the 35 remained alive.

So how did the remaining 16 managed to stay alive for 72 days?

Well, rather gruesomely, the next 72 days of being stranded in the mountains saw a pact formed – and it involved cannibalism.

Survivors Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado and Antonio Vizintin first trekked for 10 days across the vast mountain range when it became apparent no one was coming to look for them.

Jose Luis ‘Coche’ Inciarte was one of those left with the plane’s wreckage as his pals went to seek their salvation.

And he called the decision to eat his dead teammates the “only option”, while Alfredo Delgado compared the actions to “Jesus Christ at the Last Supper”.

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He said: “We made a meeting between all and we argued whether to do it or not to do it, not to do it seemed to mean to die, everybody decided to eat.

“When you went to take a piece of flesh, the body of your friend, their frozen body, the hand doesn't obey and you have to make a great effort of energy and mind to make your arm obey, and then it obeys, not immediately.

“It was the same with opening mouth to put it inside the mouth and swallow.”

It has never been divulged whether or not the dead passengers were cooked before being eaten, or if they were eaten raw and frozen.

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Once the survivors returned to the world, a Catholic priest heard the confession of cannibalism, and said that they were not “damned” for it, but rather pardoned by it was an extreme survival situation.

In total, 13 bodies were found at the site, while 15 more skeletal remains were uncovered.

A grave was due around 800 metres from the crash site, and the bodies were buried.

A headstone was erected using a pile of rocks and a plaque, which read: “The world to its Uruguayan brothers – close, oh God, to you.”

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Shockingly, one grieving father found his way up the mountain and stole his son's remains for burial near their home – he was arrested for grave robbing, but was later given legal permission to bury his son.

The story was re-told in 1993, when the film Alive hit cinema screens.

It starred Ethan Hawke and was narrated by legendary John Malkovich.

A new film called Society of the Snow is set to be released on Netflix in 2023, and will star current Uruguayan rugby union international Agustín Della Corte, who has made eight appearances for his country.

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