Parrado (left) and Canessa with ChileanHuaso Sergio Catalan.
Fernando "Nando" Seler Parrado Dolgay (born December 9, 1949) is one of the sixteen Uruguayan survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972. After spending two months trapped in the mountains with the other crash survivors, he, along with Roberto Canessa, climbed through the Andes mountains over a 10-day period to find help. His efforts, supported in various ways by the entire group, have been recognized through books and other media. He was portrayed by Ethan Hawke in the 1993 feature film Alive: Miracle in The Andes.
When it finally came time to choose a college, I decided to enroll in agricultural school, because that was where my closest friends were going. When my father heard the news, he shrugged and smiled. 'Nando,' he said, 'your friends' families own farms and ranches. We have hardware stores.' It was not hard for him to talk me into changing my mind. In the end, I did what made sense: I entered business school with no serious thought about what school would mean for me or where this decision might lead. I would graduate or I would not. I would run the hardware stores or maybe I wouldn't. My life would present itself to me when it was ready. In the meantime, I spent the summer being Nando; I played rugby, I chased girls with Panchito, I raced my little Renault along the beach roads at Punta del Este, I went to parties and I lay in the sun, I lived for the moment, drifting with the tide, waiting for my future to reveal itself, always happy to let others lead the way. (p.30-31)
Parrado also states in Miracle in the Andes that after he returned from the mountains, he gave up his studies. Still coping with the loss of his sister, Susy, and their mother, both victims of the same plane crash, Parrado drifted for a period of time. Initially, Parrado helped out in his father's business, though he was interested in the field of sports car racing and for many years developed a career as a professional race car driver. After his marriage, he gave up professional racing and took over his father's hardware business alongside his older sister and brother-in-law. He also developed additional businesses and became a television personality in Uruguay.