fbpx Skip to content

Survived Plane Crash in the Andes | Nando Parrado (ep. 84)

Nando Parrado

In 1972 there was a historic plane crash; the only one in which the plane was flying at both cruising speed + altitude and had survivors. One of the survivors was Nando Parrado.

In street clothes and without food, Nando survived the winter in the Andes. His story was told in the 1993 movie, Alive. He was played by Ethan Hawke.

Today, we’re joined by Nando Parrado. He is one of my heroes and the most courageous survivor I’ve met. Don’t miss this unbelievable story of leadership and drive in the face of dire adversity.

Subscribe &  listen on iTunesStitcher, Google Play, iHeartRadio or listen here:


  • I was angry, but I couldn’t feel pain or sorrow. In a survival situation, something is triggered to protect you because if you suffer that pain, it’d be too much to survive.
  • Winter in the Andes: There’s snow everywhere. There’s nothing and no one coming.
  • All the born leaders died, [so new] leaders emerged. It’s the most fantastic leadership story ever told.

  • I tried to leave. I’d walk 8 paces and I’d sink all the way to my waste in deep snow.
  • What kept you going? “The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to die. I’d fight until I stopped breathing. My mantra was ‘If I am breathing, I am alive.'”
  • You are formed by the experiences of your life. I was a typical guy, but the leaders of our team died. Something is triggered in side of you [to become a leader.]
  • Nando wrote his book Miracle in the Andes 30 years after the accident, as a gift for his father. “What my dad taught me when I was young saved my life in the Andes.”
  • He went to the glacier with his wife + daughters to honor his mother + sister. [Photo left.]

Nando Parrado’s Tips on Life after Tragedy

  • There is life after tragedy. Go forward and be resilient. Realize that life will not be perfect.
  • People are afraid of losing things. I get it, but I lost everything when I was very young and I came back from that.
  • I’m not afraid of losing things. I’m afraid of losing time to live.
  • Plan your future by living the best you can in your present.
  • If you live your life thinking that, if you changed something from your past, your present would be better: That’s insane, because it didn’t happen. Live in your present.
  • I decided to have a second life. When you understand that there is only one, you live in a different way.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Books by Spanish Author Carlos Ruiz Zafon because, to me, a book is entertainment. A good time on a quiet night. He’s poetic and simple.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? To be more timid, I wouldn’t go into some situations that later I regret.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? Photos of my grandparents.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Pico Mendez from Uruguay that devotes his life remarkably to helping people. I would ask “How do you do it? How do you find the time?”

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Never look back because the only thing you get when you look back is a bloody pain in the neck.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Don’t change anything.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? It was all worth it.


If you enjoyed today’s episode: Subscribe (automatically get new episodes), rate & review (help spread the word!) this podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.

Live Inspired with John every day on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedInPinterest, Instagram and get his Monday Motivation email: www.JohnOLearyInspires.com/Monday-Morning

8 replies on “Survived Plane Crash in the Andes | Nando Parrado (ep. 84)”

Thanks, Krista! Happy it resonated with you. I agree – DON’T LOOK BACK! Nando has been a hero of mine for a long time… Stay ON FIRE, my friend. J

Super amazing story! This is a quote to live by “If you are breathing, you are alive” Truly gives a new perspective on living in the moment. Thank you John for arranging such a powerful podcast and for all of you inspiring work!!!! Can’t wait to hear the next Podcast!

Susan, it is a great reminder! Are you breathing? You are alive, my friend! Thanks for being part of the Live Inspired Community and for ALL YOU DO. Stay ON FIRE —- J

What an inspiring podcast. Wow. Nando inspires me to want to live more fearlessly and to trust the process more. I am grateful to have been able to hear this story today. Thank you John and Nando.

I love this. Yes! Live fearlessly and trust the process. Stay ON FIRE, Michele! See you on Thursday with a new episode. J

This podcast was the best ever, these two men brought tears to my eyes as I look at my own life. It is so simple if you are breathing you are alive. If life seems hard right now, listen to this entire podcast it totally changes your perspective. Thank you John O’Leary for bringing this podcast to your site. I will never be the same. Totally inspired to live in the now the best life has to offer. Thank you, Dawn

Dawn, Nando’s story really impacted me, too. It was such an honor to bring him on the show! Thanks for tuning in, being open to the message + being part of the live inspired community and ALL you do! See you next week, we’ve got another amazing guest who is going to inspire you… stay tuned! J

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *