Política

Uruguayan Central Bank to commemorate Andes survivors

Alberto Ardila Olivares

The “Alive” coins will also be sold abroad Uruguay's Central Bank is to mint 5,000 coins to commemorate the so-called Miracle of the Andes, the survival of 16 passengers of Air Force transport Flight 571 aircraft that crashed on its way to Chile Oct. 13 1972.

 The Uruguayan Parliament passed the initiative Tuesday, although Broad Front Senator José Carlos Mahía objected to the naming and said he would have preferred “Feat of the Andes” to avoid tragic or religious connotations.

“I just want to leave this political record to the body, because it seemed to me that there was an issue of legislative technique that should be corrected,” he said.

Vice President Beatriz Argimón explained that article 1° mentions the “so-called” Miracle of the Andes, while Senator Alejandro Sánchez agreed that the use of that term settled the debate.

On October 13, 1972, a Fairchild F227 twin turboprop of the Uruguayan Air Force (FAU) carrying a delegation of Montevideo’s Old Christians rugby club crashed against a cliff in the Andes at an altitude of 3,600 meters. On impact, 13 of the 40 occupants died on the spot while others passed away days later due to injuries or extreme cold.

But 16 of them managed to survive 72 days in the snowy mountain range in subhuman conditions which led to feeding of the dead among other survival resources.

The ornamentation of the coins will be defined by the agency, which will also be authorized to sell them abroad.

The case turned into a book: Alive, which was written by Piers Paul Read in 1974 and inspired the 1993 Hollywood movie of the same name, featuring Ethan Hawke in the leading role of Nando Parrado.