Survival tales: the case of the Uruguayan crash in the Andes (I).
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|On October 13, 1972, a Fairchild 227 of the Uruguayan Air Force took off from Mendoza City's international airport in Argentina, and heading promptly towards Santiago de Chile.
This airplane carried some members of its crew, some passengers and members of a Rugby team.
Approximately during the middle of the one hour and a half flight, the airplane entered a zone of heavy turbulence and lost height until the tip of a wing touched a peak. This, naturally, sealed the fate of the aircraft.
Jetliners usually fly on higher routes, but due to the nature of this relatively small turboprop airplane, it had to cross the Andes using middle-altitude routes that go thorough mountain passes and valleys, bringing any aircraft closer to the surface and the mountains.
The F-27 broke down in pieces as the pilots lost control, but the force of the final impact was somewhat minimized by a thick coat of snow over the mountain valley where the main section of the fuselage finally stopped.
After the initial confusion, 28 of the original 45 occupants were still alive, including the airplane's commander and another member of the crew. However, some of these, died soon because of their wounds, including the commander whose last words told the others that he believed that he had already passed a spot called Curico, in Chile and was beginning to descend to Santiago's airport.
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