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Alive Survivors, 3-D Escape  Map, Expedition Photos
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Action Photography Contest Winners:
Round I

Photo: Snowboarding Tahoe

Presenting the first winners
in our Action Photography
by National Geographic
photographer Bill Hatcher.
Photo contest winners

Alive! Then & Now
Photo: Alive crash site

Experience the first
expedition to retrace the
Alive Andes escape route
with our 3-D, interactive
map, survivor audio interviews, and trek  photographs.

Survivors, maps, photos

Alive! Retracing the Survivors' Daring Escape 
Experience the first expedition to retrace the Alive Andes escape route with our
survivor audio interviews, 3-D, interactive map, and trek photographs.
Photo: Alive crash site
LEFT BEHIND: Mario Perez (left) and Ricardo Peña place a Uruguayan flag at
a burial cairn memorializing the 29 passengers aboard the Fairchild 571 who
did not survive the ordeal.

It's one of the 20th century's greatest survival epics: A plane crashes high in the Andes leaving 32 people stranded with little food except the bodies of the dead. As even that ghastly supply dwindles, three survivors embark on a make-or-break journey to find help. Photo: Expedition membersNo one has ever recreated their daring escape. Until now.

To report and photograph our April 2006 cover feature "Alive! Then & Now," Contributing Editor James Vlahos (left) joined expedition leader and Boulder-based guide Ricardo Peña (center) and guide Mario Perez (right) for the first retracing of the escape route used in 1972 by  rugby players Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado, and Antonio Vizintín two months after their Fairchild 571 crashed in the Andes. The event spurred the book and film Alive.

Survivors Look Back
Listen to four of the Alive survivors as they reflect back on their ordeal >>
Expedition Photo Gallery
Writer James Vlahos shares breathtaking expedition photos  >>
3-D Escape Map
Fly over the Andes escape route with our interactive map >>

Conceived by Peña and sponsored by the National Geographic Expeditions Council, their modern-day quest to quantify the distances and difficulty of the trek involved horseback riding, rafting, snowshoeing, mountain climbing, and hiking. For Vlahos, the expedition surpassed all expectations. "After months of studying maps and old photos, I met many of the survivors," says Vlahos. "Following in their footsteps blew the doors open to an incredible story."

Editor's Note: In February 2006, survivor Eduardo Strauch joined Peña and Vlahos on a second expedition to search for the lost remnants of the Fairchild and uncover new secrets about the accident. Stay tuned for more online coverage of the story, including video from the crash site. For information on the foundation started by the survivors, go to

Cover: Adventure magazine

Now read the extensive coverage of the Alive expedition in our April 2006 issue. Subscribe now to begin your year of Adventure with this exciting Alive edition.

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Expedition Sponsors:

Logo: National Geographic Expeditions Council              Logo: Mountain Hardwear


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