The true story of a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness back in 1984 written by the daughter of one of those survivors
3/5 No relation whatsoever to the Werner Herzog film, the cover of this book reads like the best kinds of cheesy action thriller ‘Only four men survived the plane crash. The pilot, a politician, a cop... and the criminal he was shackled to’.
But far from cheesy fiction, this is the true story of a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness back in 1984 written by the daughter of one of those survivors.
Carol Shaben sets the scene beautifully, explaining that she heard about her father’s plane crash while working overseas as a young journalist. Her family reluctant to worry her, a scenario familiar to many of us working away from home, she learned of the accident from a 50-word story in a Jerusalem newspaper.
Her book, which was around ten years in research and development, tells the story not only of the crash but also the four men’s lives in the years following.
The detail it reveals of the lack of safety in the Canadian and worldwide small plane industry is as shocking as it is frightening.
But this is foremost a tale of redemption, how each of the four survivors was affected by their ordeal in sub-zero temperatures on that fateful night.
The hero, who eventually succumbed to his own personal demons. The politician, who went on to foster inter-racial and inter-religious relations while at the same time working to battle homelessness. The young cop who, inspired by a vision as he lay dying in that forest, completely changed his life. And the pilot who, despite unbearable fatigue and equipment malfunction, was at least partly responsible for the crash and subsequent loss of life. He went on to become a safety compulsive.
Shaben is incredibly fair in her treatment of, what must have been, an emotional subject and the result is a book I couldn’t put down. But a word of warning, don’t read it before a flight.