“The Snow Society”: The true story of Liliana Navarro, the only woman to survive the crash


Liliana Navarro with one of her daughters, in an archive image of La Razon

Only one woman survived a plane crash in the Andes, although she did not manage to return home. Her four children were waiting for her there: María Laura, Pablo Javier, Anna Inés and Marie Noel.That one day they would discover that their mother, until the moment of her death, was the mother of all the survivors.

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is about Liliana Navarro, 34 years oldJo also became the nurse of the ‘Snow Society’ – which received two Oscar nominations – and tirelessly assisted medical students Roberto Canessa and Gustavo Zervino in caring for the wounded and sick.

So much so that they nicknamed her ‘Aunty’. In 1972, Liliana Navarro and Javier Methol had been married for twelve years. To celebrate, they planned a trip to Chile, Francisco Abal, alias ‘Panchito’ was the one who convinced him to join Flight 571.

“He explained to me that he was going to play in Santiago, Chile with his rugby team, Old Christians. For the trip he chartered a plane from the Uruguayan Air Force., with capacity for 40 passengers, not counting crew. The delegation did not fill the ship’s capacity, so they were inviting family and friends. Pancho tried to tempt me with a flurry of arguments, whether the tickets would be cheap, whether the Sheraton Hotel would have a very special price, whether there would be time to walk, whether we could become kings of Santiago and buy many things. …”, he wrote to Xavier in his diary.

Plane buried in avalanche

Another stroke of bad luck from that tragedy in the Andes was an avalanche that buried the plane. This happened on the night of 29 October and killed eight survivors, including Liliana.

Due to his death four children became orphans. And to 19 survivors who felt like a mother in the mountains. Antonio Visintin ‘Tintin’ remembers that to avoid the discomfort of being surrounded by men, they created a separate space for him inside the plane. “We always said she was like our mother in the mountains, until an avalanche took her away from us.”

“I was 10 years old when it happened,” said Xavier Methol, who returned home without his wife. When he came back my father never spoke to us about my mother again., “Most of what I’ve learned has come from survivors and my relatives,” his eldest daughter said in an interview with Forbes Women. Despite this, for Javier, Liliana’s love will live on forever from that tragic accident.

“I didn’t lose my wife in the mountains, I just stopped seeing her. The people you love die the day you forget them, and I never forgot Liliana. “I kept her love in my heart and I still love her as much as I did before,” says Xavier.

(tagstotranslate) Liliana Navarro

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