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Survivor of 1972 Andes plane crash revisits story of his survival told in new film ‘Society of the Snow’

The new Netflix movie tells the shocking story of those who survived a plane crash in the Andes in the 1970s.
/ Source: TODAY

It is one of the most amazing stories you can possibly imagine.

In 1972, 16 men survived 72 days in harsh conditions after a plane carrying a rugby team from Uruguay crashed in the Andes mountains, leaving them surrounded by snow and without food.

The harrowing experience is recounted in the new Netflix movie “Society of the Snow,” which also depicts the terrifying moment of the crash that resulted in the plane’s wings coming off and the fuselage sliding down a mountain.

Society of the Snow
"Society of the Snow" revisits the fatal crash in the Andes mountains that captured the world's attention.Netflix

“I thought I was going to die,” survivor Dr. Roberto Canessa told TODAY’s Tom Llamas in a segment that aired Nov. 30.

Canessa, who was 19 at the time, said it was not easy watching the movie.

“Yeah, because I was immersed in that place again. I was back to the fuselage,” he said.

The story of the team’s experience has been told, most notably in the 1993 movie “Alive,” but this film is different because viewers are taken to the real site of the crash, mirroring what really happened.

Society of the Snow
Nineteen people survived more than two months after the plane went down.TODAY

“We were shooting 12,000 feet, exactly in the same place where the plane crashed, at the same time of the year,” “Society of the Snow” director J.A. Bayona told TODAY.

Society of the Snow
"Society of the Snow" gives viewers a look at what the survivors had to do in order to survive.Netflix

The cast and crew also studied photos from the scene taken by cameras the survivors found on the plane.

“Every time you see one of those pictures you think about who were they, what happened to them,” Bayona said.

Star Enzo Vogrincic lost 50 pounds to play his character, eating nothing but a can of tuna and a tangerine each day, an action that, along with living in the harsh conditions, helped him better understand why the survivors made the decisions they did, including eating the flesh of those onboard who had died.

Society of the Snow, Roberto Canessa
Dr. Roberto Canessa survived the crash and went on to become a pediatric cardiologist.TODAY

“I thought if I would die, I would be proud that my body would be used for someone else,” Canessa said.

Canessa would ultimately hike out of the mountain range with a teammate to get help. He later became a pediatric cardiologist, but his experience has always stayed with him and provided a key lesson.

“About how to overcome difficulties in life and have faith in yourself,” he said.