The Message of Hope that Supersedes Media Clickbait

Gail Davis, 16 May 2023

As the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 rescue is already in full swing, there is lots of exciting content and news surfacing in the media. Plus with the ABC's 20/20 special Prisoners of the Snow and Netflix's film Society of the Snow premiering soon, you can expect even more buzz around Flight 571 survivor and GDA’s exclusive speaker Nando Parrado.

We’re here to help you navigate the media buzz and focus on the truth and beauty of the stories of the 15 survivors.

Unfortunately, sometimes the media can hone in on what we call the “cannibalism clickbait”. Even after 50 years, the media loves to grab onto the sensational headline that this story is all about doing the unimaginable in order to survive.

The problem with this message is that it’s short-sighted and ultimately fails to reveal the heart behind this incredible story. Leaving my corporate career to spread the true message of this story almost 30 years ago, I am very passionate about providing clarity to its main takeaways.

This is a story about leadership, teamwork, and the power of the human spirit.

This story of survival in what seemed like a hopeless situation offers timeless takeaways that have resonated with global audiences. It provides a front row seat to the true message of overcoming obstacles, how to face severe isolation, and maintain hope - which supersedes any clickbait headline.

Having booked Nando Parrado over 300 times, I can assure no one has ever hired him to speak or given him a 5-star rating because of the discussion around anthropophagy, otherwise known as cannibalism. Though no one in his hundreds of audiences has ever survived a plane crash at cruising altitude and has been stranded for 72 days at 15,000 ft. elevation, everyone still relates to this message. 

Why? Because we all have our own Andes. People who hear this story find hope for their own circumstances - whether it is a health diagnosis, loss of a job, or the loss of a loved one. This story is so powerful that it in turn provides perspective.

While it’s true that anthropophagy did play a part in the rugby teammates’ survival, it is important to remember the dire circumstances they found themselves with no foliage or water source at the high altitude of 15,000 feet in the mountains. It is also key to know it was not done with ill intent or in the spirit of foul play. These were their own friends and family that had sadly already died and it was undoubtedly an extremely difficult decision to come to, as it would be for any human being.

The point is they had family and friends who were hoping and praying daily for their loved ones to return home. That is what kept them going day after day. These boys had the will to live and they were determined to work together as a team in order to do so.


GDA continues to strive to inspire and transform audiences around the world through Nando sharing the true meaning of life and perseverance and we have high hopes the media will rally around that. 

If you are interested in booking Nando Parrado to speak at your next event, our team would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have in navigating this decision to bring his inspiring story to your stage.


-Gail Davis
Founder & President, GDA Speakers