Survivor Recalls the Harrowing 1972 Plane Crash Behind Society of the Snow

From Lord of the Flies to Lost or Yellowjackets, fantasies about plane crashes leaving people stranded in the wilderness have provided fodder for popular entertainment for ages. These narratives usually dig into the dark side of human nature as they often deal with how the survivors end up attacking each other after having to endure such stressful conditions for so long.

However, in Society of the Snow, now streaming on Netflix, director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, Jurassic World: 16 members and supporters of a Uruguayan rugby team managed to survive 72 days in one of the world’s most difficult environments by doing exactly opposite as Alive (Back from Fallen Kingdom).

The movie does not lack in scariness, but it also tells a truly emotional story of how people were able to survive the now-legendary crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which took place in November. The picture can be viewed as an account of survival against all odds and an example of unity when people work together for one another.

Roberto Canessa(played by Matías Recalt), he was a 19-year-old medical student at the time of the crash, and now he is in his 70s. He tells in some interview that watching  When a Monster Calls and Bayona’s The Impossible film makes him feel like saying Director has a very special ability to produce movies about human beings who

“This is not just a movie,” he says of his sessions with Bayona at making Society of the Snow. “After such cases, human beings transform. “They have a real metamorphosis; they are not rugby players anymore but survivors of an aircraft crash.” I think people can.

Society of the Snow was partly filmed in the same area where the plane crashed. It is based on Pablo Vierci’s 2008 book by that name. While the tale of the 1972 disaster has been brought to the screen before, most notably in Frank Marshall’s 1993 film Alive which was an inspiration for Yellowjackets, this is the first time since when survivors and even families of those who perished have given their approval to use real names.

How did the plane crash?

On 12th October 1972, Flight 571 of the Uruguayan Air Force departed Montevideo, Uruguay, with a total of 45 people (40 passengers and five crew members). The plane had been contracted by the amateur rugby team of Old Christians Club to fly their players, relatives and friends to Santiago, Chile, for the exhibition game.

Because of the bad weather, the plane had to make an emergency landing in Mendoza, Argentina and spend a night there. The next day, Oct. 13, once again, the plane took off for Santiago with a charted route that would enable it to avoid going through the heart of the Andes and instead fly over a pass in lower height.

However, just under an hour into the flight, the pilot miscalculated his position and cleared by air traffic control to do so started falling before the plane had managed to get out of the Andes.

Cutting through the ridgeline, it hit a mountain and, in doing so, lost both wings and its tail. The plane’s front end then drifted down the mountain before touching down in a valley at about 11,500 feet.

What happened to the surviving people?

Twelve people died in the first crash, and some of the 33 remaining passengers sustained injuries. Twenty-seven more survived during the first night, and another died due to her injury about a week later.

People believed they would get rescued some time from now and so survived subzero night temperatures by making a shelter out of the wreckage of the fuselage and rationing what little food and wine was present in the luggage which lasted for about one week.

On about day 10, the survivors salvaged a tiny transistor radio from the plane and learned of their fate that no more searches were to be conducted because they were now all considered dead.

How were the survivors rescued?

At higher temperatures, three representatives of the group Fernando “Nando” Parrado (played by Agustín Pardella), Canessa, and Antonio “Tintin” Vizintín (played by Agustin Della Corte) tried to climb over the mountains and drive into civilization in Chile.

After walking for three more days, they found themselves at the top of the summit of their valley and realized that they were much higher than they had thought. Vizintín went back to camp so that Canessa and Parrado could have more food rations for the longer trip, and the two continued in a makeshift sleeping bag, which helped them survive frigid nighttime temperatures.

Canessa and Parrado had a brutal 10-day tour, they met a man on horseback, after resting one day, he was able to notify the authorities that there were still survivors who were waiting to be saved.


Snow society on Netflix makes for an amazing journey through survival and alliance. Director J.A Bayona gets it right in directing an emotional journey of the survivors from being rugby players to fighting individuals. With the authentic depiction and acceptance by those who literally participated in this inspiring true story, it is an interesting account.

People May Also Ask

What is Society of the Snow is about

Society of the Snow is a Netflix movie directed by J.A.Bayona that is available for streaming now on the Netflix website. This tells the incredible true story of 16 members of a Uruguayan rugby team who survived 72 days in brutal conditions after surviving a plane crash.

What distinguishes Society of the Snow from other survival stories?

Unlike many survival stories that look at the darker side of human nature, the Society of Snow looks deep into unity and the emotional journey of people who had survived Flight 571, the legendary Uruguayan Air Force.

What makes the movie unique?

One of the books that cannot be missed is Society of the Snow. It is not just a story about surviving against impossible odds but also an inspiring illustration of human transformation and unity in the face of adversity.

How real are the events shown in the movie?

Partially filmed in the same vicinity where the real plane crashed, the film is based on Pablo Vierci’s 2008 book. Survivors and families agreed to the use of real names, which gives a touch of authenticity to the story.

How were the survivors finally saved?

After enduring 10 days of survival, three survivors and Roberto Canessa climbed over the mountains after learning that no more searches would be conducted. They met a rider who informed the police, and they were saved.

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Aanchal Rao