On May 2, 1970, a DC-9 jet with 57 passengers and a crew of six departed New York’s JFK International Airport en route to the tropical island of St. Maarten. The flight ended four hours and 34 minutes later in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean. It was, and remains, the only open-water ditching of a commercial jet. The subsequent rescue of survivors took nearly three hours and involved the coast guard, navy, and marines. This gripping account of that fateful day recounts what was happening inside the cabin, the cockpit, and the helicopters as the crews struggled against the weather and dwindling daylight to rescue the survivors who have only their life vests and a lone escape chute to keep them afloat.
Elsie’s Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If you ever wanted a textbook example of Murphy’s Law in full effect this book is it! The sheer magnitude of combined miscalculations, misfortune and errors are astonishing. It led to the ditching of ALM Flight 980 into the Caribbean sea, just 35 miles short of its diverted destination. The only commercial airline to date to crash land in open waters.
Author Emilio Corsetti painstakingly details not only the facts leading up to the mishap, but also paints us a picture of aviation life in the early 70’s as well as anecdotal snippets of American history during that time.
Fred Filbrich did an excellent job narrating this true story which clocks in at just under 8 hours. His voice works perfectly for this genre and I found his reading entertaining and engaging.
This audiobook was gifted to me in exchange for an unbiased review!
Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. Emilio has written for both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilotmagazine. Emilio is the author of the book 35 Miles From Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980. Emilio’s most recent release is Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption. The book tells the true story of an airline crew wrongly blamed for causing a near-fatal accident and the captain’s decades-long battle to clear his name. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University. He and his wife Lynn reside in Dallas, TX.