Pilot Claims He Shot Down ‘Little Prince’ Author

March 19, 2008 10:38 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The mystery surrounding the death of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French aviator and author, may have been solved by the man who unwittingly killed him.

30-Second Summary

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whose children’s story “The Little Prince” is beloved by readers around the world, disappeared during an aerial reconnaissance mission in 1944.

Now, a former German pilot named Horst Rippert says in an upcoming book that he pursued and shot down Saint-Exupery’s plane during World War II.

Rippert told the Associated Press that he was a fan of Saint-Exupéry’s work.

“In our youth, at school, we had all read him. We loved his books,” Rippert said. “If I had known, I would not have opened fire. Not on him!”

Rippert suspected early on that he had shot down Saint-Exupéry’s plane, but kept it a secret fearing his career might be damaged.

The pilot’s confession is the final piece in a puzzle that has confounded historians for years.

A silver bracelet believed to have belonged to Saint-Exupéry was first discovered back in 1998. And the remains of Saint-Exupéry’s Lockheed Lightning P38 plane were found in 2000 and identified in 2004.

According to PBS, “The Little Prince” was inspired by Saint-Exupéry’s experience flying over the Sahara desert.

Headline Links: Wartime author mystery solved

Background Links: Following the clues to the death of ‘Little Prince’ author

Reference: Chasing the Sun


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