Tuesday, May 27, 2014


This post is not only a sequel to the April 12th "Flight 571" post but it's also our second film review after "Somm" on March 25th and...it's our first post here that has nothing to do with wine or food!

Flight 571 was a plane full of rugby players and others numbering forty-five total that originated in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 13, 1972.  It ultimately crashed in the Chilean Andes after battling storms on its way to Santiago.  What makes the story so compelling is the way the sixteen survivors of the seventy-two day ordeal stayed alive, by resorting to eating the dead.  The April 12th post began as a study of Concha y Toro's Reserve Malbec which is sourced close to the base of the mountain, 12,000 feet below where the plane rests.  That post is really quite good if you want to scroll back to start there before continuing on here. 

Last Saturday evening PBS showed "Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed in the Mountains".  In this fine 2007 feature length documentary, all sixteen survivors are interviewed surreally on camera.  The following ten points are things I learned from the film.

1. The rugby team was made up of nineteen year old guys who were all from the same affluent neighborhood and attended the same Roman Catholic school. 

2.  They had never experienced snow before.

3.  The storm that brought down the plane was one of many in the winter of 1972 that made it Chile's worst year weather-wise.

4.  The pilots were "flying blind" into the storm and "air pockets" caused sudden drops in altitude which ultimately brought down the plane.

5.  There is no mention in the film of the stop in Argentina before continuing on toward Chile.

6.  There was a camera on board and pictures before and after the crash chronical the event.

7.  The young men were close to each other before the flight and the survivors are close today.  Their survival through the ordeal may be owed to this solidarity.

8.  The feeding on the dead was viewed sacramentally by the survivors, i.e., those who lived feel they would have given of their own bodies to save others if they had died.  It was not desecration.

9.  Quotes like these:  "When you don't know what to do, wait.  Time will bring the answers."  "You get stuck, then you go on...and on...and on."

10. The rescuers wanted to cover up the cannabalism.

I also had a realization of my own.  I would have been nineteen in 1972.

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