This is the account of our most recent Donner Party when the 16 survivors of a chartered plane crash in the Andes -- with an original manifest of 45 including a Uruguayan rugby team -- could only survive on the dead bodies of their former seatmates. It received wide coverage in the press at the time; it also had the doubtful benefit of Clay Blair's tabloid-tinged Survive! -- a 1973 paperback. The survivors at first organized sort sort of procedure (foot rations, lavatory areas) before conditions -- avalanche- gangrene- filth- diarrhea -- went from worse to impossible. Medical student Roberto Canessa, volatile and often ill-tempered, introduced the idea that only by cannibalism could they survive; bodies were retrieved from the snow and dismembered, although often there was no fire over which to cook them. The spent the nights talking about home- foods - families; one after another slipped away (""Be careful not to step on Numa."" ""But Numa's dead""). Finally the strongest of them became expeditionaries -- walking out, attempting to find an escape route. The most heroic proved to be the formerly gawky, timid Parrado and finally Parrado and Canessa crossed a mountain and went down into a valley to meet a peasant and enable the salvage of the others. . . . A crushing, necessarily extortionate, unthinkable and yet heroic experience with the grip of a crampon.