Survivors of a 1972 plane crash who resorted to cannibalism to stay alive are urging fellow Uruguayans to sign up for a government-run organ donation program.
The 16 crash survivors, who spent 72 days on a remote mountain in the Andes before being rescued, have agreed to lead "an awareness campaign" with the state-run National Donation and Transplant Institute, crash survivor Jose Luis "Coche" Inciarte told AFP on Wednesday.
The survivors will call for donors to make "a pact with life, like we did up there in the mountains 37 years ago," said Inciarte, referring to an agreement they made that anyone who died would allow themselves to be eaten.
The campaign seeks to double the number of registered organ donors in Uruguay by late 2010.
After Uruguay "we will extend it to other countries," Inciarte said. "First Argentina, where the accident took place; then Chile, where we were rescued from; and then we will continue north," he said.
On October 13, 1972 a Uruguayan Air Force plane bound for Chile with 45 people aboard, including members of a rugby team, crashed in the high Andes.
Twelve people died in the crash and 17 others died over the next days due to injuries and avalanches. On the tenth day the survivors heard on the radio that rescue operations had been suspended, prompting their pact.
The men's plight was chronicled in a best-selling book "Alive" and a Hollywood film of the same name.