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I Had to Survive

How a Plane Crash in the Andes Inspired My Calling to Save Lives

by Dr. Roberto Canessa Author · Pablo Vierci Author


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On October 13, 1972, a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying members of the "Old Christians" rugby team—and many of their friends and family members—crashed into the Andes Mountains. I Had to Survive offers a gripping and heartrending recollection of the harrowing brink-of-death experience that propelled survivor Roberto Canessa to become one of the world's leading pediatric cardiologists.As he tended to his wounded teammates amid the devastating carnage of the wreck, rugby player Roberto Canessa, a second-year medical student at the time, realized that no one on earth was luckier: he was alive—and for that, he should be eternally grateful. As the starving group struggled beyond the limits of what seemed possible, Canessa played a key role in safeguarding his fellow survivors, eventually trekking with a companion across the hostile mountain range for help.This fine line between life and death became the catalyst for the rest of his life.This uplifting tale of hope and determination, solidarity and ingenuity gives vivid insight into a world-famous story. Canessa also draws a unique and fascinating parallel between his work as a doctor performing arduous heart surgeries on infants and unborn babies and the difficult life-changing decisions he was forced to make in the Andes. With grace and humanity, Canessa prompts us to ask ourselves, what do you do when all the odds are stacked against you?

Publication Details

Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date:


  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook 234.1 MB
  • OverDrive Listen 234.1 MB

Carlos Frias (Translator)

Read by Thom Rivera, Dawn Harvey, Carol Monda, Hillary Huber, Bernadette Dunne, and Kyla Garcia

More about Carlos Frias

Pablo Vierci (Author)

Pablo Vierci is an award-winning author and scriptwriter and a native of Montevideo, Uruguay. He is also an Italian citizen.

More about Pablo Vierci

Dr. Roberto Canessa (Author)

Dr. Roberto Canessa made history in December of 1972 for being one of sixteen young rugby players who endured months of severe cold, injuries, starvation, and isolation after their plane crashed into the snowcapped Andes-an event that inspired the...

More about Dr. Roberto Canessa


Narrator :
Elijah Alexander
Narrator :
Hillary Huber
Translator :
Carlos Frias
Narrator :
Various Narrators
Narrator :
Neil Shah
Narrator :
Emily Woo Zeller
Narrator :
Tavia Gilbert
Narrator :
Traber Burns
Narrator :
Thom Rivera
Narrator :
Kyla Garcia
Author :
Pablo Vierci
Author :
Dr. Roberto Canessa
I Had to Survive
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