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Uruguay: Plane crashes during Andes disaster memorial

People inspect the yellow plane on the beachImage copyright Ariel Colmegna
Image caption The plane “took off and fell” according to one witness

A plane carrying two people taking part in a memorial event to mark the 1972 Andes air disaster has crashed in Uruguay, killing one of them.

The light Piper aircraft crashed in the sea during a beachside anniversary barbecue near Montevideo on Sunday.

The passenger’s body was found in the water on Monday. The pilot survived.

In the 1972 disaster, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes. The survivors were forced to eat those who had been killed in the crash.

The events were dramatised in the Hollywood film Alive.

Those taking part in the anniversary event on the beach watched in horror as the light aircraft plunged into the sea 400m offshore.

The Chilean passenger, Fernando González Foretic, had worked as a doctor to the Chilean rugby team and Santiago’s Universidad Católica football team.

The pilot managed to swim ashore. The cause of the accident in not known.

Image copyright Ariel Colmegna
Image caption People had gathered on the beach for a barbeque

Both men were part of the group gathering for a meal the day after the annual Uruguay-versus-Chile Friendship Cup rugby match commemorating the 1972 accident.

The series of events were arranged in the run-up to the 45th anniversary on Friday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Survivors of the 1972 crash with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (back row, centre-left) and Chilean mule driver Sergio Catalan (back row, centre), who helped bring them back to safety

The crash on 13 October 1972 happened when a Uruguayan amateur rugby club, the Christian Brothers, and their friends and relatives, were flying to Chile to play a game.

The memorial match, which has been taking annually place for 44 years, alternately in Chile and Uruguay, is held to mark the match that never happened.

Twelve were killed in the crash, six died in the next few days, and 11 more died due to the lack of food and harsh conditions they faced.

Those who were left were forced to eat the bodies of the dead in order to have any chance of living long enough to be rescued.

BBC News – World

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