University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Alive Assignment: The Miracle In The Andes
On October 13, 1972, the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 had crashed in the Andes, leaving members of Uruguayan rugby team and their families to fight for survival. Of the 45 people who boarded the plane, 12 died in the crash, and another 5 died the next morning. This left the remaining survivors to form a society, create laws/rules, and work together in order to survive. Throughout the film, it is apparent that the group functions by working together as one.
From the start, up until the end, the group continually worked to support one another, providing ideas to ensure success, and overall, to ensure survival. This is evident in how directly after the crash, they helped one another to free themselves from the rubble, in how they all worked together to free people from snow after the avalanche, and through how they stuck by members of their group (even when unconscious, or slowly dying). A great example of how they left nobody behind was when Nando carried a frostbitten person back to safety from the mountains (when they were looking for the tail).
Through everyone working to help one another, many lives were saved over the months they spent in the Andes. During their two month span in the Andes, many people acted as leaders. Originally, captain of the team Antonio Balbi took control and acted as a leader. He did so by helping others, and controlling the group with regards to decisions, and with the rationing of food. Other than Antonio, others displayed leadership in their actions and in helping others. These individuals include Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa.
These two individuals in particular had become leaders in the rescuing of the group, and in the idea of eating fallen comrades. It was these two individuals who took the ten day trek through the mountains and found help, and these individuals who supported others, and found the strength to remain positive. For example, when Nando hears that they have called of the search for survivors, he is the only one who reacts positively, and remains a strong leader. At this point he says “theres good news and bad news…the bad news being that they called off the search. at which point everyone reacts negatively and some begin to cry) The good news is that we are going to have to get out of here on our own. ” In this quote, it is evident that Nando acts as the leader, remains positive and helps keep everyone’s spirits up, even in hardship and despair. These individuals were not necessarily chosen by the group (as they did not have a vote or a committee), but instead, rose to the occasion when the group was going through hardship. In my opinion, it was Nando and Canessa who were the most successful as leaders.
Throughout the months that the group was in the Andes, many laws had been made. These laws included no stealing, no taking leftover food, everyone gets an equal share, even if they are unconscious, and no killing someone for a source of food. In each of these laws, consequences were placed on should anyone decide to break the law/rule. For example, when the mechanic (Carlos Roque) stole a jacket from someone unconscious, Antonio said “you do that again and I will kill you. This represents the fact that Antonio had created a law/rule and had placed consequences should another person steal. He enforced this by returning the jacket to the person that once owned it, and by using a threat/force to prevent anyone from stealing once more. Therefore, failure to act under that particular law would be punishable by death. Another example is through the law of “no killing another person just for a food source. ” In this law, it was more so the idea of “everyone needs to stick together to ensure survival” (spoken by Nando), rather than a punishment.
If someone were to kill another person just for food, the group may not stick together, may not forgive the other person, or may kick them out of the group. In my opinion, I think that the laws and rules were reasonable (given the situation). I have come to this conclusion through the fact that it is a life and death situation, and that while the group was in hardship and despair, they needed to stick together. I think that if a member of the group is unable to see this then they should in fact be kicked out of the group (or have consequences), for the safety of the group itself.
Over the course of 2 months, 16 people had formed a society, created laws and rules, and worked together in order to survive. On October 13, 1972, the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 had crashed in the Andes, leaving members of Uruguayan rugby team and their families to fight for survival. On December 23, the remaining 16 survivors were rescued. These people survived due to their positive attitude, strength, willingness to survive and their faith. The society that they had created had ensured that everyone worked as one, and overall,had played a huge roll in their survival.