Holly and Gerald celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, joining the table to eat fish, oranges and rice, just like every year since 1972. With a lasting legacy at the Fitzgerald house and a truly dramatic identity behind it.
In the early 1970s, the couple raised enough money to make a 4-month honeymoon trip through South America, a dream that almost came true for both of them, didn’t a plane crash put them on the brink of death? Lost at the center of the Matre de Deus Forest Reserve in Peru.
The plane, with 13 people on board, made an emergency landing in the woods, in an interview with the BBC.
The group, helpless and still recovering from the accident, crossed a stream in a motor boat and began to walk on the muddy path until they found a penal colony, an outer prison, and isolated from the world.
Prison guards explained that the colony had no bars because the prisoners had nowhere to escape, and advised them to wait a few days to catch a flight to Puerto Maldonado. Holly says, then go to the city of Reperalda and go on a boat.
Days passed, and when the rain calmed down, the crew took off the plane, still shocked by the crash. However, if the plane had landed safely at this time, Holly and Gerald would have faced another misfortune: the boat bound for the city was already gone.
We were devastated. We were alone in that small town, it was raining, the soil was up to my ankles, not the place we wanted to wait for months for a boat“, Says Holly.
However, one local offered an alternative: “He told me we could go on a boat and travel to the city. He said all the people did it.”
The couple then decided to build a boat with four wooden cores tied together and a pink plastic tent above. They named it Pink Palace or Pink Palace.
The journey takes 800 days and five nights over a distance of 800 kilometers, the first few days resembling a beautiful walk. But the adventure went bad again.
During the fourth night on the river, the couple was struck by a severe storm and struck by thunder in the middle of a tree that had fallen on the ship. The trunk tore the plastic of the tent and struck Holly, who was trapped under the tree.
The next morning, the storm led to a beautiful sunny day. But with the new day, there was also a terrible realization: most of the food that fell into the river during the storm.
Almost nothing is left. We only had a can of tuna, some powdered pea soup, some sugar and instant coffee. That’s it“, Enumerator Holly.
The couple was trapped in a flooded plain. Isolated from any civilization they became easy targets for the wild animals that lived in the forest.
At night we could hear the animals. There were roars, and some roars were like jaguars. Even if the land is submerged, we know they can climb trees. We were also scared of anacondas and crocodiles”.
As the days went by without eating, the couple quickly began to lose weight and become weaker.
31st. One day Holly remembers waking up and not being able to wake her husband. “I thought he died in his sleep. He was lying motionless and I could not hear him breathing, ”Holly says, insisting she called him, but he did not answer.
When he woke up I started crying. I was very relieved. He was alive!”
After the shock, Gerald saw two people traveling in a canoe, using the small force he left behind, to scream for help.
Men from that part of Peru stopped the couple in a canoe and took them to the village where they lived.
When they arrived, Holly recalled that the tribe immediately fed the couple.
First, we ate wonderful oranges called Santo Domingo Oranges, then they made chicken soup, fish and a little rice.”, He says, explains where the couple’s oldest tradition comes from.
Thus ended the honeymoon of George and Holly, who had escaped from continuous investigation for about two months. Both had to stay in the hospital for 17 days until they fully recovered.
Today, 50 years later, they are celebrating the adventure without any regrets. “It reminds me of everything we could go through if we were together,” Holly says.