Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou Friday took part in a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the so-called Andes tragedy, an airplane crash that made history since many victims survived after being left for dead.
During the celebration at the Andes 1972 Museum, the Uruguayan Post Office launched a commemorative postage stamp and the Central Bank of Uruguay (BCU) announced it would mint 5,000 allusive coins.
Also present at the event were several high-ranking government officials together with Museum Director Jörg Thomsen as well as some of the survivors of Uruguayan Air Force flight 591 such as Gustavo Zerbino, Fernando Parrado, Eduardo Strauch, and Roberto Canessa.
BCU authorities said the UY$ 1,000 coins (US$ 24.5) are due in the first half of 2023, while the stamp was postmarked by President Lacalle Pou.
On October 13, 1972, members of the Old Christians rugby club and some of their families traveled from Montevideo to Santiago de Chile to play a friendly match. While crossing the Andes, the Fairchild F227 turboprop aircraft, which was carrying 40 passengers and five crew members, crashed into a cliff in the mountain range. Only 16 survivors were rescued more than two months later, while 29 people died.
The museum also celebrated its first 10 years with the preserved memory to disseminate key values such as solidarity, teamwork, and resilience. Thomsen said this decade of activity was marked by a due tribute to the 45 people on the flight and for the memory of the 29 who could not return to be preserved and maintained in time.
The deceased are present in the form of letters and objects that give soul to this museum; the objects of many of them speak for themselves, he explained.
”Arturo Nogueira's phrase 'Life is hard, but it deserves to be lived even in suffering', (said by) a young man who died 15 hours after having written it and with 35 days of agony, I think it is very representative of what they managed to survive and lived, Thomsen said.
The museum is a just tribute to those 45 people who were on board,” said Thomsen about the site frequently visited by tourists where replicas of the plane, photographs, and original clothing of the survivors are exhibited.
During the ceremony, British artist John Guiver presented his book on the tragedy: To play the game.