Andes Survivors

Andes Survivors

Nando Parrado survived an airplane crash and 72 days in the Mount Andes with some other survivors.

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Fernando "Nando" Seler Parrado Dolgay is one of the sixteen Uruguayan survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes mountains on 13 October 1972. After spending two months trapped in the mountains with the other crash survivors, he, along with Roberto Canessa, climbed through the Andes mountains over a 10-day period to find help.

His efforts, supported in various ways by the entire group, have been recognized through books and other media. He was portrayed by Ethan Hawke in the 1993 feature film Alive: Miracle in The Andes.

Parrado was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, to Seler and Eugenia Parrado, the second of three children, with an older sister, Graciela, and a younger sister, Susana or "Susy". He graduated from the Stella Maris College (Montevideo) and played for their alumni rugby team, Old Christians

At the time of the Andes crash, he was a university student. In his 2006 book, Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home, Nando Parrado comments on his life in the days immediately prior to the Andes:

"When it finally came time to choose a college, I decided to enroll in agricultural school, because that was where my closest friends were going. When my father heard the news, he shrugged and smiled. 'Nando,' he said, 'your friends' families own farms and ranches. We have hardware stores.' It was not hard for him to talk me into changing my mind. In the end, I did what made sense: I entered business school with no serious thought about what school would mean for me or where this decision might lead. I would graduate or I would not. I would run the hardware stores or maybe I wouldn't. My life would present itself to me when it was ready. In the meantime, I spent the summer being Nando; I played rugby, I chased girls with Panchito, I raced my little Renault along the beach roads at Punta del Este, I went to parties and I lay in the sun, I lived for the moment, drifting with the tide, waiting for my future to reveal itself, always happy to let others lead the way. (p.30-31) "

Parrado also states in Miracle in the Andes that after he returned from the mountains, he gave up his studies. Still coping with the loss of his sister, Susy, and their mother, both victims of the same plane crash, Parrado drifted for a period of time. Initially, Parrado helped out in his father's business, though he was interested in the field of sports car racing and for many years developed a career as a professional race car driver. After his marriage, he gave up professional racing and took over his father's hardware business alongside his older sister and brother-in-law. He also developed additional businesses and became a television personality in Uruguay.

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