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35 Miles from Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980
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35 Miles from Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  42 reviews
On May 2, 1970, a DC-9 jet with 57 passengers and a crew of six departed from New York’s JFK International Airport en route to the tropical island of St. Maarten, but four hours and 34 minutes later the flight ended 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 n ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 28th 2008 by Odyssey Publishing, LLC (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  414 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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Vicky Hunt
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Riveting Account of an Airline Disaster!

Wow! The drama—the intrigue—is immersive in this historic ditching of an airliner, which was actually the only open-water ditching of a commercial jet ever. Hearing the radio transcripts of the pilot and the control towers drew me right into the moment. And, sound effects for the rescue choppers could be heard at times. I was impressed that the pilot made the call so quickly to make an emergency landing in the ocean. It was one of those moments where qui
...more
Audio Audits
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
...more
Zhanna
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great account of the events. I like thoroughness, especially all the footnotes. Books like this make me appreciate technology and people I sometime take for granted in aviation industry.
Penny Goetjen
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Real life drama with the feel of fiction. Well researched and well written. I got lost a couple times with the terminology because the author has a background in aviation but the glossary at the front of the book got me though most of my hazy moments. I felt as though I was on the plane that ditched in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of St. Croix and also side-by-side with the rescue workers as they worked tirelessly to save the passengers. Enjoyed the read.
Scott
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with his previous book “Scapegoat”, Emilio Corsetti III does it again with his new audiobook release titled “35 Miles from Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980”. In the book he tells a gripping, action packed, well researched story that is wonderfully narrated by Fred Filbrich. Portions of the story include re-enacted communications from various transcripts or interviews which brings it more to life. It would be difficult to write an action thriller as good as this book, and it is ...more
Teresa
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
ALM Flight 980 was the first and only airplane to be open-water ditched of a commercial jet ever. On May 2, 1970 the flight was landed in the ocean just 35 miles from its diverted destination. There were 57 passengers and 6 crew on board heading for St. Maarten from New York’s JFK International Airport. The plain had been in the air 4 hours and 32 minutes when the Captain made the call to land in the ocean. It is unknown if he would of tried making that last 35 miles if the outcome would of been ...more
Ray Cooke
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping True Story
Overall 4 out of 5 starsPerformance 4 out of 5 starsStory 5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed: 09-10-19

35 Miles from shore. .
I found this book absolutely gripping and nail biting. The description of the ditching and subsequent rescue of most of the passengers and crew is an emotional event. Whilst reading this I was also struck by the technical details and the balance between these and dramatic effect.
Credit to Fred Filbrichs narrating a difficult topic. ...more
Thomas
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a well researched book. In addition to the true story, it explains how airlines operate behind the scenes. It is an excellent book, however, if I was asked to proofread/edit the book, I would have noted it is written almost entirely in passive voice. Editing it to active voice would have saved probably more than 100 unnecessary words. That is for you English Majors. Overall, an excellent story.
Robert M. Roth MD
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anatomy of an Airliner Accident

An interesting and highly readable story about the ditching of a commercial airliner en route from New York to St. Maarten. The story, although heavily researched, is presented from the point of view of the pilots, passengers and flight crew. The story unfolds as if you actually were present. I thought this might be a very dry read, fortunately it is anything but. Fans of aviation will enjoy this.
Dorothy
I probably won't remember reading this when I go back to the list of books I've read this year. Slow start, good plot building, but a bit short for me. And a pet peeve - I HATE when photos are put in the middle of a book. The plane hadn't ditched into the ocean yet, but there were tons of photos of the rescue and aftermath. Save it for the end or sprinkle them through the book as the events happen.
Arlene
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book

This is an amazing non fiction book about a pilot having to land in the ocean because of running out of fuel. I doubt the author missed a single fact! This was so interesting. Lots of facts and figures, but loads of descriptions of the passengers, crew and rescuers involved.
Scary how it is pointed out that there are probably 100 ditching a year all over the world!!!
Kathleen Ray
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I met one of the survivors of this story and was compelled to read it. I always believe that the pilot and everyone on the plane wants to survive the trip as much as you do and this book supports that. It was sad that so many didn't survive but amazing so many did. I have a new respect for airline pilots and all of the staff on the plane.
Mjdrean
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was very interesting and tragic. It would have been much better if 100 pages had been shaved away. There were way too many details and repetitive information. It could've read like a good mystery if the sequence of events had been juggled.
Neil Hunt
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: survival
Reads like an ntsb report, could be a lot more lively

I hadnt realized how few ditchings there have been. This book written before Captain Sully landed in the Hudson - he was a hero, the pilot in this book was the goat.
Esther Harrup
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well Researched

It was a little long for my taste but the author kept me interested even when the information seemed to drag. It was a good read.
Thomas Black
Ok, but a bit dry.
Don Paske
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read. There was some degree of too much technical information, and I would have liked a little more information on the individuals involved.
Barbara Finazzo
Not For Me

I thought this would be an interesting story. Sorry, but I found it to be very dry and too dragged out. I made it to 47% and had to throw in the towel.
Ryan Johnson
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent account of the accident

Well written and well researched. A through account and follow-up of the people involved and the aircraft history as well as the aircraft type.
Michael
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative book.

I don't remember ever hearing about this accident before reading this book. The author did a great job telling the story.
Terra
May 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
35 Miles From Shore by Emilo Corsetti III is the most astounding non fiction book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Extremely detailed, well researched and action packed, this book is a don't put down book until it's finished, Wow!!

The flight of ALM 980 starts out with strikes against it. The pilot is a risk taker and not one to follow orders all the time. The navigator is fairly new to his position and wasn't supposed to be on this flight but ended up filling in for someone e
...more
Missy
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I must admit that I found this book to be quite interesting and the page-turner. Now, disclaimer: I LOVE real-life disaster stories. I know...sounds pretty sick..but hear me out. I love them because I enjoy learning about all of the little things that went wrong, so little that it would seem impossible for them to cause something horrible, but when compounded together, they create something big. In all cases, it boils down to human error. Personally, I believe there is much to be learned by read ...more
Susan
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
On May 2, 1970, a DC-9 jet with 57 passengers and a crew of six departed from New York’s JFK International Airport en route to the tropical island of St. Maarten, but four hours and 34 minutes later the flight ended 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 wa ...more
Wally Beddoe
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
My good buddy J.D. Barber was the CH-46 Crew Chief involved in this rescue. For his actions, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.
~Wally

On May2, 1970, ALM 980 departed New York’s JFK international airport with fifty-seven passengers and a crew of six. The destination was the tropical island of St. Maarten. It was a perfect spring day with partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 64 degrees. In the Caribbean the story was quite different; thunderstorms plagued the region.
...more
Feloidae *The Bookworm*
I guess it was a good researched book, well as good and detailed it can be with the flight data recorder still on the bottom of the sea. I still wonder if they are going to lift it one day.
I'm still not compelled to give the book more than 3 stars. For me I thought it was a bit too much focused on the company itself that owned the plane I'm more into technical stuff and the plane/crash itself as well as the following investigations (which came too short too). However I would recommend reading i
...more
Kat
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: udate
35 Miles from Shore is, naturally, heavy on aviation industry speak, and contains a lot of information on the plane, the airline and the bodies responsible for regulating the industry. However, this is to be completely expected, and is not overly dry in facts and figures and airplane-yabber.

The telling of the events leading up to the crash, the rescue and the aftermath are riveting reading, with a particular focus on the airline staff and certain key passengers. The subsequent invest
...more
Colin Birge
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it
A book-length examination of an incident famous in aviation circles, a 1970 JFK->St. Maarten flight forced down in rough Caribbean seas after the plane ran out of fuel. At its best the book reminds me a bit of Sebastian Junger's "A Perfect Storm," though it's not quite as well written. The author takes you through some of the personalities, business decisions, and technical problems that led up to the disastrous landing & subsequent rescue mission.

The author, a pilot, does a reasonably g
...more
John E. Donovan
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Close only counts in horseshoes,"

... and unlike in the game of horseshoes, the consequences of not reaching the desired goal in this endeavor, would be, both, tragic and news-worthy. Author Emilio Corsetti does a fine job (through hours of interviews with survivors of ill-fated ALM Flight 980, as well as pain-staking research on the Internet) weaving together the events in place that, ultimately, brought down Overseas National Airways' DC-9, 35 miles short of its intended destination ... and he do
...more
george burns
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the Water

In the Water

This is the story of a commercial jet which ditched in 1970 in 5000 feet deep water 35 miles from the Caribbean island of St. Croix. The author skillfully weaves a tale that includes misjudgment, bad luck, heroism, danger and tragedy. The result makes compelling reading.
Andrew
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
An outstanding telling of an unfortunate incident. The author used an excellent writing style that combined a narration of events mixed with historical, technical and geographic data in such a way as to keep the reader engaged.
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Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. His work has appeared in both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University. For more information about the author, please visit the author's web site at www.EmilioCorsetti.com.