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things that just are

Friday, February 25, 2005

Lost and Found

1972 Crash Survivor's Wallet Recovered

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- One of 16 survivors of a 1972 Andes plane crash made famous by a book and movie has gotten his wallet and jacket back 32 years after leaving them in the mountain snows.

Eduardo Strauch, who survived 72 days in high mountain snows, received the aged wallet, drivers license and other personal items Wednesday, a week after they were found in the Andes by a mountain climber.

Strauch, now a 57-year-old architect and father of five, was aboard a flight with fellow rugby players, relatives and friends when their plane crashed high in the Andes on Oct. 12, 1972.

'Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors' by Piers Paul Read publicized the story with accounts of how survivors ate flesh from some of the victims to survive. The story was later dramatized in a Hollywood movie.

A Mexican hiker chanced upon the items just yards from the site where the plane went down.

The hiker passed the items on to a local hotelier took who gave them to Alvaro Mangino, another Uruguayan who survived the flight and happened to be in western Argentina at that time. Mangino delivered to Strauch.

'This is just a feeling that's impossible to describe,' Strauch told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'It's incredible, amazing that this episode continues to speak for itself.'"


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