Fifty years ago a plane crash in the Andes in which survivors were left for a gruelling ten weeks in arctic conditions without food became legendary when it emerged that those few who remained alive had turned cannibal, eating the flesh of their dead companions. Ultimately only 16 out of 45 were rescued alive.
Their story was brought to life by Piers Paul Read in his bestseller, Alive, with a Hollywood film to follow and now Netflix is to dramatize a reprise.
The survivors are a close-knit group who meet each year on December 22, the day the rescue began for a barbecue and attend a mass with relatives of their dead friends every October 13. None regret what they did to survive.
Not all were killed in the initial crash and some succumbed to their injuries and others died in an avalanche. When they had lost all hope of being found, two of the group set off in search of help, scaling a 5,000m mountain with a homemade sleeping bag and rugby socks filled with human flesh. After ten days, they saw a Chilean shepherd across a raging river, threw him a note wrapped round a rock and he rode 100 miles to summon help.
The crash occurred on 13 October 1972 3.34pm near Curico, Chile when there was a brutal and destructive Mars Pluto conjunction amplified in square to Jupiter Moon in Capricorn. There was also a Sun Uranus conjunction in the 8th trine Saturn in the 4th and Neptune conjunct the Midheaven.
The previous Cancer Solar Eclipse in July was in a series which suggests the possibility of breaking out of a very negative situation where no hope can be seen to a more positive space.
Of those who survived. Roberto Canessa, one of the two who summoned help, became a leading cardiologist and mountaineer, 17 January 1953. He is a Sun Capricorn square Saturn Neptune in Libra; with his Mercury opposition Uranus square Neptune indicating a strong faith which would have helped. He also had an upbeat Mars Venus in Pisces sextile Jupiter in Taurus. His Solar Arc Pluto was opposition his Mars Venus over the crash and aftermath; and tr Pluto was opposition his Solar Arc Mars Venus.
Fernando Parrado, 9 December 1949, a Sun Sagittarius square Saturn Mars in Virgo also had an emphasised Neptune on the focal point of a mini-Grand Trine of Sun trine Pluto, sextile Neptune. His Solar Arc Mars was conjunct his Neptune at the crash.
Carlos Paez, 31 October 1953, 31 October 1953, a serious Sun Saturn in Scorpio with an optimistic Neptune trine Jupiter, sextile Pluto. Tr Uranus was conjunct his Solar Arc Mars at the crash.
Eduardo Strauch, 13 August 1947, a Sun Venus, Saturn, Pluto and Mercury in Leo in an optimistic square to Jupiter with a risk-taking Mars Uranus in Gemini. His Progressed Mars was catching the tr Uranus conjunction over the crash.
Jupiter and Neptune get a bad reputation for being lazy and/or unrealistic. But in situations of trauma or high stress, they crop up remarkably frequently as life savers. Hope and vision help.
Mars involved in accidents is no surprise either.