P. Edronkin

Survival tales: trapped at 4.000 metres (I).



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On March 1974, five adults began a normal journey crossing the Andes between Mendoza City, in Chile, and Santiago de Chile. The trip by car usually takes a couple of hours and presents no difficulties, but leads any traveller to altitudes well above 4.000 metres on that area (other mountain passes are above a thousand metres higher).

That day, however, weather forecasts were not good, and despite all the warnings that they received from the Argentine border patrol in successive control posts and towns, they decided to continue their journey thinking that they would make it before the storm actually started.

Shortly after crossing the border into Chile, at 4.300 metres above sea level, a blizzard blocked their way and they were forced to stay in their car, for they were also unable to return.

Heavy snow fell in the area, erasing any trace of the road or the tracks left by their car, and as it happens in any blizzard, visibility was significantly reduced. So, they had no real idea bout their position.

Despite the fact that they believed that the storm would soon pass, they had to wait for many days eating what they could and staying together in order to conserve an acceptable temperature inside the car. They had no camping or emergency gear either, so they could not improvise any kind of shelter or lit a fire to warm up a bit the place.




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