Miracle in the Andes
72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home
Publication Date: May 15, 2007
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In the first hours there was nothing, no fear or sadness, just a black and perfect silence.
Nando Parrado was unconscious for three days before he woke to discover that the plane carrying his rugby team, as well as their family members and supporters, to an exhibition game in Chile had crashed somewhere deep in the Andes. He soon learned that many were dead or dying—among them his own mother and sister. Those who remained were stranded on a lifeless glacier at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, with no supplies and no means of summoning help. They struggled to endure freezing temperatures, deadly avalanches, and then the devastating news that the search for them had been called off.
As time passed and Nando’s thoughts turned increasingly to his father, who he knew must be consumed with grief, Nando resolved that he must get home or die trying. He would challenge the Andes, even though he was certain the effort would kill him, telling himself that even if he failed he would die that much closer to his father. It was a desperate decision, but it was also his only chance. So Nando, an ordinary young man with no disposition for leadership or heroism, led an expedition up the treacherous slopes of a snow-capped mountain and across forty-five miles of frozen wilderness in an attempt to find help.
Thirty years after the disaster Nando tells his story with remarkable candor and depth of feeling. Miracle in the Andes—a first person account of the crash and its aftermath—is more than a riveting tale of true-life adventure: it is a revealing look at life at the edge of death and a meditation on the limitless redemptive power of love.
Nando Parrado lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Vince Rause lives in Pittsburgh.
“Miracle in the Andes is an astonishing account of an unimaginable ordeal. In straightforward, staggeringly honest prose, Nando Parrado tells us what it took—and what it actually felt like—to survive high in the Andes for 72 days after having been given up for dead. If you pick this book up, you will not be able to put it down.” —Jon Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild
“Unlike the cloud that obscured the mountainside, there is no haze enshrouding the meaning of life for Nando Parrado. It was in the love for his father that Nando found the motivation to survive for over two months on a Chilean glacier. As he makes his unbelievable traverse of the Andes, Nando also demonstrates the depth of his courage, faith, and perseverance that help him later transform his losses into a source of inspiration for others. Connecting our struggles to his, we readers can use Nando as our beacon and see that there is a way out of our ‘own personal Andes.’” —Aron Ralston, author of Between a Rock and a Hard Place
“Nando Parrado’s haunting experience in the Andes—grippingly, honestly, and insightfully told—ranks with the most dramatic survival stories of the last two centuries.” —Peter Stark, author of Last Breath: The Limits of Adventure
“Miracle in the Andes is an extraordinary book. Everybody’s philosophical hypotheticals were Nando Parrado’s real life experiences. Would I survive an aircrash? Could I eat human flesh? Would a horrific and life-threatening event affect my religious beliefs? In the end, this account benefits enormously from the maturity that time allows. It is a beautifully written and moving story.” —Peter Hillary, author of In the Ghost Country: A Lifetime Spent on the Edge
“Given up for dead after an air crash in the Andes in 1972, Nando Parrado not only survived but showed the strength and determination that saved his own life and that of his fifteen friends. Now he gives his own account of his ordeal—enthralling, enlightening, modest, and moving. An impressive testimony to what love can achieve.” —Piers Paul Read, author of Alive