Daniel Fernández: Flight 571 Survivor is Now a Public Speaker

The story of the tragic fate of Flight 571 that crashed in the Andes in 1972 is told in detail in Netflix’s ‘Society of the Snow,’ AKA ‘La Sociedad de la Nieve.’ Amongst those who lived to tell the tale, Daniel Fernández played a crucial role as one of the leading figures behind whom the survivors rallied. His courage and determination have become a testament to the extremes that humans are capable of reaching when it comes to survival. As such, it is hardly a wonder that the world wants to know what he has been up to these days.

Who is Daniel Fernández?

The story of the Andes plane crash of 1972 is one that has been told multiple times over the years. The reason behind the continued curiosity is the extreme circumstances in which the survivors of the crash had to live after they found themselves in the midst of snowcapped mountains. Daniel Fernández was one such passenger on the ill-fated flight, who boarded the plane on October 12, 1972, not realizing how his life would be changed forever in the upcoming hours.

Following the crash, Daniel and his fellow passengers had to make some extremely tough decisions. This included the fact that their only source of food for the majority of their time in the mountains was human flesh owing to the barren landscape. The continued loss of those around them only took more toll on Daniel when the captain of the Old Christians Club rugby union team, Marcelo Perez, passed away.

Until Marcelo was alive, he had assumed a leadership role owing to the fact that the majority of the passengers and the survivors were part of his team. However, after he passed away during the avalanche on October 29, 1972, it fell to Daniel and the Strauch cousins to guide everyone. This included the task of selecting the bodies which were to be consumed next and cutting flesh off them. Their efforts certainly bore fruit when Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa’s journey through the mountains turned out to be a success, and Daniel himself was retrieved from the mountains on December 22, 1972.

Where is Daniel Fernández Today?

While many of Daniel Fernández’s fellow survivors were publically open about their experience in the Andes, he himself did not do so for the longest time. “I didn’t speak about the accident for 30 years because I thought no one was interested in hearing about it,” he told The Standard. However, that was before he arrived at the crash site for the 30th anniversary of the tragedy and saw several major news outlets from across the world covering the event.

Image Credit: AP Archive/Youtube

Seeing the public’s genuine interest in the crash helped Daniel realize that he should also start sharing his side of the story. Since then, he has taken up the role of a public speaker and has been around the world to talk about his survival journey. The survivor has claimed that he does not hold many negative memories in regard to the Andes. He has since come around to the idea that his own perspective might help others.

Following the crash, Daniel worked hard and soon became an agriculture professor. He also got married and started his family in Montevideo, Uruguay. Over the years, he has joined in many occasions that celebrate the survivors of the crash. From the release of the Netflix movie to the passing of some of the survivors, like Javier Methol, Daniel has been present on many occasions and has opened up more and more about his experience.

Read More: Carlos Páez Rodríguez: Andes Plane Crash Survivor is Now a Grandfather