MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – The Chilean livestock herder who spotted survivors of a 1972 Andean plane crash made famous by a best-selling book and Hollywood movie was reunited Friday with some of the men he helped rescue 35 years ago.
Sergio Catalan was welcomed at the Montevideo airport by crash survivors whose 72-day ordeal stranded in the snowcapped Andes was recounted in the book “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors,” by Piers Paul Read, and made into a movie in 1993.
An Uruguayan air force plane carrying a private college rugby team crashed in a rugged mountain pass while en route from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile, in October 1972. Of the 45 people aboard, 16 survived more than two months on the freezing slopes by eating flesh from the bodies of other passengers killed in the crash, several later said.
Catalan, now 82, also met with Uruguay’s vice president, Rodolfo Nin Nova, who thanked him for his role in the rescue.