I Had to Survive

How a Plane Crash in the Andes Inspired My Calling to Save Lives

I Had to Survive

On October 12, 1972, a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying members of the “Old Christians” rugby team—and many of their friends and family members—crashed into the Andes Mountains. I Had to Survive offers a gripping and heartrending recollection of the harrowing brink-of-death experience that propelled survivor Roberto Canessa to become one of the world’s leading pediatric cardiologists.

As he tended to his wounded teammates amidst the devastating carnage of the wreck, rugby player Roberto Canessa, a second-year medical student at the time, realized that no one on earth was luckier: he was alive—and for that, he should be eternally grateful. As the starving group struggled beyond the limits of what seemed possible, Canessa played a key role in safeguarding his fellow survivors, eventually trekking with a companion across the hostile mountain range for help.

This fine line between life and death became the catalyst for the rest of his life.

This uplifting tale of hope and determination, solidarity and ingenuity gives vivid insight into a world famous story. Canessa also draws a unique and fascinating parallel between his work as a doctor performing arduous heart surgeries on infants and unborn babies and the difficult life-changing decisions he was forced to make in the Andes. With grace and humanity, Canessa prompts us to ask ourselves: what do you do when all the odds are stacked against you?
  • Atria Books | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476765440 | 
  • March 2016
List Price $26.00
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Video

Un accidente aéreo en los Andes inspira a un doctor a salvar vidas

El 12 de octubre de 1972 un avión de la Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya que llevaba al equipo de rugby “Old Christians” se estrelló en medio de la cordillera los Andes. Tenía que sobrevivir es el relato cautivante y desgarrador de esa larga experiencia con la muerte que impulso a unos de sus sobrevivientes, Roberto Canessa, a convertirse en uno de los cardiólogos infantiles más conocidos en el mundo.

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Tenía que sobrevivir (I Had to Survive Spanish Edition)

About the Authors

Roberto Canessa
Photograph © Roberto Canessa

Roberto Canessa

Dr. Roberto Canessa shocked the world in December 1972 when he and Fernando Parrado arrived in Chile after surviving a horrific plane crash and then hiking across the Andes mountains for ten days at an altitude of 16,404 feet and temperatures of twenty-two degrees below zero. Canessa and Parrado guided a rescue party back to their fourteen friends who were still trapped on the mountain two months after the initial search for them had been called off. Dr. Canessa went on to become a pediatric cardiologist, world-renowned for his work with newborn patients and prenatal echocardiography at the Hospital Italiano of Montevideo.

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Pablo Vierci

Pablo Vierci is a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, who is also an Italian citizen. He is an award-winning author and scriptwriter.

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