THE ANDES FLIGHT
ANDES FLIGHT DISASTER
• Fairchild FH-227 of Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya, flight
571 Photo taken in the summer 1972.
• Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, also known less
formally as the Andes flight disaster, was an airline
flight carrying 45 people that crashed in the Andes
on October 13, 1972.
• The Andes Mountains are the longest and one of
the highest mountain ranges in the world. They are
located in South America and stretch 4,500 miles
from north to south, along the west coast of the
• On Friday the 13th
of October, 1972, Uruguayan Air
Force twin turboprop Fairchild FH-227 D was flying
over the Andes carrying Stella Maris College’s “Old
Christians” rugby union team from Montevideo,
Uruguay to play a match in Santiago, Chile.
• Dipping into the cloud cover while still over the
mountains, the Fairchild soon crashed on an
unnamed peak (later called Cerro Seler, also known
as Glaciar de las Lágrimas or Glacier of Tears),
straddling the remote mountainous border between
Chile and Argentina.
• The plane clipped the peak at 4200 m,
neatly severing the right wing, leaving a
gaping hole in the rear of the fuselage. The
plane then clipped a second peak which
severed the left wing and left the plane as
just a fuselage flying through the air. The
fuselage hit the ground and slid down a
steep mountain slope before finally coming
to rest in a snow bank.
ON THE MOUNTAIN PEAK OF THE
• Disaster site
• Of the 45 people on the plane, 12 died in the crash
or shortly thereafter; another 5 had died by the next
morning, and one more succumbed to injuries on
the eighth day. The remaining 27 faced hard
survival issues high in the freezing mountains. Many
had suffered injuries from the crash including broken
legs from the aircraft's seats piling together
• On December 12, 1972, some 2 months after the
crash, Parrado, Canessa and Vizintín began their
trek up the mountain.
• Parrado took the lead, and often had to be called
to slow down, although the trek up the hill against
gravity and in low-oxygen was difficult for all of
• Although it was still bitterly cold, the sleeping bag
allowed them to live through the nights.
• Date: October 13 – December 23, 1972
• Passengers: 40
• Crew: 5
• Fatalities: 29
• Number of days stranded: 72
• Survivors: 16
• The group escaped from the crash site after nearly
three months. But the group that came down from
Andes was not the same group that began the
• Why? What changes occurred?
• The pattern of relationships among the group
members, or the group's structure, had been
• How? Why?
• The survivors began the ordeal without a leader but
ended up with a plethora of "commanders,"
"lieutenants," and "explorers."
• Men who were at first afforded little respect or
courtesy eventually earned considerable status
within the group
• Some of the men who were well liked before the
crash became outcasts, and some who hardly
spoke to the others became active communicators
within the group.
• As the harsh environment taxed the group
to the limit, new structures emerged that
• who would lead, clean, and explore (role
• who gave orders and who carried them out
• who was liked and who was treated with
contempt (attraction structure), and
• who communicated frequently or only
infrequently (communication structure).
• What conclusions can be drawn from the Andes
• What can be said about group development?
• What theoretical frameworks could be applied in
this particular situation (CBT, REBT, Choice Theory
and Logotherapy)? Why? Justify your answer/s.