By Evan Obert
We as human beings can be motivated to do many things by the concept of survival. When faced with death we find that we are able to push ourselves further than we thought capable, even possible. Piers Paul Read’s Alive conveys this to us through the account of a Uruguayan rugby team that found themselves stranded in the Andes with frightfully scarce resources for 70 days.
From day one, the survivors Uruguayan Air Force aircraft endured horrible conditions. While in its uncontrolled descent, the Fairchild lost both wings and its tail, leaving only the fuselage. Although better than bearing the subzero temperatures without shelter, the fuselage provided little refuge. The passengers constructed walls from the snow to augment the aircrafts protection, seeing that in their current circumstances they would be dead before the night was through. The friends also saw the fragile state of those that were most wounded in the crash and worked industriously to improve their conditions. This they did by building them hammocks from the wreckage and by giving up their rations to the weaker of them. Most of the survivors gave their thanks to God for the two medical students who happened to be with them, Roberto Canessa and Gustavo Zerbino, who disregarded themselves and immediately set to work on the passengers in worst condition. All of this was to be just a small illustration of the passenger’s will to keep themselves and each other Alive.
Not anticipating their fate, the Fairchild was stocked with little to sustain the survivors. After a short, but grueling ten days the ration supply they had been so dependent on had all but diminished. After overcoming the relentless weather and stabilizing most of the passengers, they were faced with the prospect that without food their efforts thus far would be in vain and they would perish. Being a stronger figure in the group, Canessa presented an unavoidable decision they would all make,...