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|The Man Who Came From The Dead!|
|Thursday, 14 January 2010 09:12|
IT was a day like any other day. As the police car dropped Nando Parrado off at his home, he embraced the policeman goodbye and walked up the long stone path to his middle-class family home in Montevideo, Uruguay. The neighbour was mowing his lawn, the sound of screams and laugher from the kids playing in the park nearby reminded Nando he was finally home. The only problem was that he was ‘dead’!
His funeral was over, his family, friends and colleagues had finished mourning, his memorial service done, he had been away for 72 days and everyone had wrote him off as having perished in the snowy Andes mountains. His picture was already on the family mantelpiece. There was closure.
But the former Uruguayan rugby player was one of the 16 passengers who survived the accident, which also took the lives of his mother, sister and fellow team mates.
In 1972, Nando Parrado flew to Chile to play an international rugby match. Tragically, the flight never arrived at its destination; the plane crashed at 18,000 feet in the Andes mountain range. The two and a half months that followed changed Nando’s life completely.
In the movie Alive, which immortalizes Nando and the other survivors, there is a scene that shows them feeding off the flesh of the dead passengers. Nando didn’t skirt around the subject when he spoke at the recent Youth Engagement Summit (YES) in PICC but he didn’t address it directly too: “If this place catches fire and there’s only one door, you’ll all run to it for survival. To us, our dead friends were the door. When life gives you two choices, you can choose one; but when there’s only one choice for survival, you will have to do just that.”
“It is better to decide and make a mistake, that not to decide,” he said. So he and his team mate decided to make a superhuman effort to trek over the peak to the other side. There was no turning back. If there was no hope on the other side, they would surely perish in the mountains forever.
But they saw hope and scaled down the other side of the mountain and came across a raging river. An old man on a bicycle was on his way alongside the other side of the river, They shouted and screamed for help, but the rush of the river was too loud for him to hear. The man noticed them, but he did not come back. They waited, and a few days later the man showed up again. This time they threw a stone across the river with an SOS message tied to it. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The extraordinary history of Nando Parrado has been carved out of an absolutely normal life. His achievements are a powerful testimony to his attitude of survival. A life quickly transformed, since after an incredible physical and mental recovery... losing his mother and sister in the accident and undergoing a fracture of skull of Coma 4.
It’s a lesson of courage, determination, leadership and team work. It’s saga of determination... experienced at a level that few will be able to credit....touches your heart and leaves you with an elevated perception of the value of human life.
Awe-inspiring, truthful and motivating, Nando’s tale is about the tenacity of the human spirit. The crowd gave him a standing ovation!
He was stunned when five Indonesian youths ran up to him immediately after his talk, hugged him and started crying together. They had lost their parents in the recent earthquake. They saw in Nando a man who came back from the dead. They wished their parents had been just as lucky.