French aviator

On the trail of a missing aviator, Saint-Exupéry

By John Tagliabue

After the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, the demise of the French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on a reconnaissance mission in World War II has ranked as one of flying's great mysteries.

Now, thanks to some sleuthing by a French diver and marine archaeologist, the final pieces of the puzzle seem to have been filled in.

The story that emerged about the disappearance of Saint-Exupéry, in self-exile from Vichy France, proved to contain several narratives, a complexity that would probably have pleased the author of several adventure books on flying and the famous tale "The Little Prince," about a little interstellar traveler, which was also a profound statement of faith.