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Roberto Canessa in 1974.
|Born||Roberto Jorge Canessa Urta
17 January 1953
|Children||Hilario, Roberto Martín and Laura Inés|
Roberto Jorge Canessa Urta (born 17 January 1953) is one of the 16 survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972, and a Uruguayan political figure. He was portrayed by Josh Hamilton in the 1993 feature film, Alive: Miracle in The Andes.
October 13, 1972 air crash
At the time of the accident, Canessa was a 19 year old medical student. His fianceé was Laura Surraco, the daughter of a doctor. He graduated from the Stella Maris College (Montevideo) and played for their alumni rugby team, Old Christians Club. He played between 1971 and 1979, eight match with the Uruguay national rugby union team, and was also selected in 1980, for the South American Jaguars tour of South Africa.
It was Canessa who suggested to his fellow survivors that in order to stay alive, they should eat the flesh of the deceased victims of the crash. Together with Fernando Parrado, he spent 10 days trekking through the Andes in search of help for the survivors.
After the rescue, Canessa recounted how his drive to escape from the mountains was fueled by the thought of his mother and his girlfriend. He later married Laura Surraco, and they had two sons and a daughter. He works as a cardiologist and motivational speaker.
Candidate for President of Uruguay
Canessa was a candidate in the 1994 Uruguayan presidential elections but he failed to gain public support. Canessa obtained only 0.08% of the vote, lagging far behind former President, Julio María Sanguinetti, whose party returned to power with 30.83% of the public vote.
- Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571
- Nando Parrado
- Carlos Páez Rodríguez
- Old Christians Club
- Alive: 20 Years Later
- Alive: Miracle in The Andes
- Reference to the Andes plane crash in 1972
- Useem, Michael (2009-03-24). The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide--Knowing What to Do and When to Do It. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-4000-8299-5. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Official Roberto Canessa's website with summaries of most relevant motivational presentations
- "Elecciones nacionales de 1994" (in Spanish). Corte Electoral del Uruguay. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
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