Roy Harley: Flight 571 Survivor is Now an Engineer

Image Credit: Roy Harley/Facebook

The story of each and every individual involved in the crash of Flight 571 in the Andes in 1972 is one that the world has followed with bated breath. Netflix’s ‘Society of the Snow,’ AKA ‘La Sociedad de la Nieve,’ certainly does a great job of telling just how the survivors worked hard to make sure that they would be able to see greener pastures again. This includes Roy Harley, who tried to use his skills to help in any way possible, even when things were at their bleakest. Hence, it is hardly a wonder that the world is curious about his current whereabouts.

Who is Roy Harley?

Roy Harley, a member of the Old Christians Club rugby union team, was born on May 26, 1952. He was one of the 45 people who boarded Flight 571 on October 12, 1972. The plane took off from Montevideo, Uruguay, and was destined to land in Santiago, Chile. However, the journey involved crossing the Andes on October 13, 1972, something that ended in tragedy when the flight crashed in the mountains, leaving the survivors stranded in the snowcapped landscape with minimal resources.

Roy Harley (Left)

After the survivors had gathered their bearings, one of the first things they wanted to do was somehow salvage the radio system of the plane in order to establish a connection with the rest of the world. As an electronics enthusiast, Roy assisted by fashioning a long antenna using a wire for the available AM transistor radio. However, their one-way door to the world would also mean that they got to know when the search for them was called off on the eleventh day.

Throughout his time in the Andes, Roy had to face many tough challenges. While many might assume that the survivors’ desperate decision to resort to cannibalism might be what might have conflicted him the most, Roy has clarified that the death surrounding them during that time is what affected him the most, recalling a striking incident of how seeing a young heavily injured boy choking had made him more scared than anything. Roy’s stay in the Andes came to an end on December 23, 1972, after Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa crossed the mountains to reach civilization.

Where is Roy Harley Now?

It took Roy Harley some time to open up publicly about the days following the crash and his experience in the Andes. The former Universidad de la República student was focused on his studies of Industrial Mechanical Engineering. In fact, he was a student at Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay in the same field from 1972 to 1981. During the latter duration, he did decide to open up. He also got married to Cecilia Surraco and continues to enjoy marital bliss. In fact, the two are proud parents of three: Carolina, Eloísa, and Alejandro.

Though Roy did eventually choose to step into the limelight, he highly respected the privacy of those who did not want that. He took up the role of a motivational speaker in 2016 and went to different countries to talk about his experience and the qualities that helped him achieve the miraculous feat. Roy is not a huge fan of the negative connotation attached to the aftermath of the 1972 crash and believes that the journey undertaken by him and his fellow survivors is a testament to resilience and brotherhood that can be seen in the harshest of times.

As for his technical career, Roy became a part of AkzoNobel as a LATAM HSE Manager in March 2006. He also became the company’s River Plate Decorative Paints Site Manager for Argentina and Uruguay in March 2008. March 2009 saw him giving up his first role, though he remains affiliated with AkzoNobel even today. Based in Montevideo, Uruguay, he is quite proud of all he has accomplished today and is always open to uplifting others in any manner possible. Roy also has the honor of being the only man from Uruguay to carry the Olympic torch during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Read More: Nando Parrado: Where is Andes Flight 571 Plane Crash Survivor Now?