35 Miles From Shore : The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 180 by Emilio Corsetti III

In book review, Pump up Your Book Promotion on May 28, 2008 at 7:15 am

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Odyssey Publishing (April 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977897109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977897100
  • To purchase, click here.
  • Excerpt from the back of the book:

    On May 2, 1970, a DC-9 jet with fifty-seven 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 thirty-four minutes later in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean.  It was at the time, 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.  In this gripping account of that fateful day, author Emilio Corsetti puts the reader inside the cabin, the cockpit, and the rescue helicopters as the crews struggle 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.

    I have never been on a plane.  I don’t have a fear of flying, but my husband and I are the types of people who like to plan our vacations so we have enough time to drive and enjoy the sights along the way.  When I read books like this about aircrafts that have had incidents that have caused them to abort their mission (for whatever reason), it makes me glad that we usually take the time to drive.  I know, I know, driving in a car is a lot more dangerous than flying, according to the statistics.  But I can’t imagine the horror that must overcome passengers of an airplane when they realize they will not be landing as planned.

    Emilio Corsetti has done an excellent job of researching the events, and being a pilot has the ability to enlighten readers as to the events that took place to cause the crew to have to “ditch” this plane.   He has done an excellent job of helping the readers understand the decisions that the crew had to make in lieu of the technical difficulties and mistakes that were made on this fateful flight.  He also does a great job of putting us in the shoes of the passengers, and helping to portray their emotions before and after the “ditching”.  This is the only open water ditching of a commercial airliner to date, pretty amazing considering how many flights take place daily. 

    If you want to read a VERY interesting review of this book, please click here to read a review written on by an observer on one of the Marine Corps CH-46 helicopters that took part in the rescue – this was an eye opener to say the least.  What really happened?  I guess we will never know for sure.

    This was an excellent read and really intrigued me to do some more research and see exactly what may have happened.  I had never heard of this incident before, so am glad I took the time to read this and gain this knowledge.

    Thanks again to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity!

    1. I am deathly afraid of water. I think I would panic more in the open sea than I would in the plane. I think I’m going to avoid this one so I won’t scare myself more but it does sound fascinating.

    2. Hi,

      Thanks for the post. It still amazes me that in this day and age there are people who have never been on an airplane before. My wife’s brother, who is in his forties, is among the non-flyers.

      Now reading this book certainly isn’t going to get anyone to change their minds about flying, but anyone who has flown over water might find this an interesting story.

      Thanks again for your comments.


    3. It does sound interesting. I’m actually a fan of non-fiction books about ship wrecks. Fear of water, fear of flying….I’ve not got either of those fortunately.

    4. Lol I’d never be able to read this. I’ve been on a plane only a handful of times, but I’ve been pretty scared each time! I won’t even watch “I am Marshall” or “Castaway” because of the crashes at the beginning, let alone the show “Lost”

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