|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – June 2005
Colorado climber Ricardo Peña's surprising discovery raises new questions in the infamous tale of survival
When Peña returned to El Sosneado, his discoveries astonished Edgardo Barrios. "It was like finding a piece of the Titanic," says Barrios, who immediately called Eduardo Strauch, now 57 and living in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo.
"I have some of your money," Barrios blurted to a surprised, then delighted, Strauch, to whom Barrios sent the wallet and other artifacts.
The news spread quickly in Uruguay. The crash survivors were all deeply religious, and have always credited their faith with helping them survive. After much deliberation, they came to see the bodies of their friends as proof that God wanted them to live; consuming their flesh, they believed, was a sort of desperate communion. Strauch told the Uruguayan daily El Pais that finding the wallet was symbolic of the disturbing beauty that has made the ordeal so universally fascinating. "It was incredible to see my younger self, to see the passport with the text and seals and my name intact," Strauch said.