Star Dust Falling Hardcover – 1 Apr 2002
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At 13.46 on August 2, 1947 a British South American Airways plane called Star Dust took off from Buenos Aires to fly over the Andes to Santiago in Chile. It never arrived there. The radio tower at Santiago received a message from Star Dust at 17.41 saying that the plane was a few minutes away from landing. The message ended with the mysterious word, "STENDEC" which was repeated three times. After that there was silence. Star Dust had disappeared.
Many theories were advanced to explain the disappearance. There had been an explosion on board. Despite the message to the contrary, the plane had not made it over the Andes. Aliens had abducted it. (A UFO spotters' magazine later took that last, enigmatic word "STENDEC" as its title.) It was to be more than 50 years before two Argentinian climbers stumbled across debris from Star Dust which led to an explanation of its fate.
Jay Rayner is a fine journalist and the disappearance of Star Dust is a great story. His book gives a gripping and readable account of the plane's last journey and of the modern expedition to locate its final resting place. And, in reconstructing the background to the disaster, he pays a belated tribute to the memory of the 11 people who disappeared with the plane. --Nick Rennison
The fascinating story of the mysterious loss of an aircraft, Star Dust, in the Andes in 1947; the rickety airline company that flew the plane and the discovery of the plane and its crash victims in January 2000.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Notwithstanding the rather superficial nature of the mystery, the telling of the tale is also disappointing. For instance, Rayner starts to develop biographies of the passengers and crew but never really finishes them: it's difficult to understand why he bothers as they add little to the story or the mystery. Sadly, (for me) he also fails to capture the remoteness, beauty, and ruggedness of the crash site and as a result, the book ends up as a rather arid account that is almost clinical in its presentation.
Perhaps what Rayner should have written is a biography of Don Bennett with the Star Dust story contributing a chapter or two. Clearly, Bennett was an interesting character and he certainly caught the author's imagination; however, whilst it would have made a better book, it would have been harder to sell.
This was the only book i could find on the subject and wasn't sure what it would be like as i only Know the author as a food critic rather than a journalist. However i was not disappointed. the story itself is facinating and is well told by Mr Rayner.
A jolly good read.
Rayner is being unfair to BSAA as it had more going for it that BOAC with all its Imperial airways baggage.
Rayner's book is interesting but a bit of a polemic.
Having read this book, I now know much of the background, not only about the loss of the STAR DUST, but also Air Vice Marshall Don Bennett, who has to be listed as one of the Worlds Greatest Aviators, holding more aviation FIRSTs than any other man.
Although the book jumps about a bit between giving the background on the, passengers, crew, & the airline - British South American Airline BSAA), and the story of the mountaineers who eventually found the STAR DUST, making it bit difficult to orientate yourself, I would thoroughly recommend this book to those interested in historical aviation stories/mysteries.
The only thing nobody has ever been able to solve is the meaning of the strange last message from the plane in morse code S.T.E.N.D.E.C. 4 minutes before it was due to land. It was the last that was seen or heard of this plane for 50 years.
I also think it's high time there was a film made about the life of Don Bennett, a true pioneering aviator, & war hero. (hello Hollywood / Pinewood / Peter Jackson ??).
The book also covers in some detail the earliest days of long distance air travel and gives a very clear idea of what it must have been like to have suffered a journey such as London-Santiago just after WW2.
It is in many ways an amazing story comprising history, moutaineering, aviation, journalism, and wreckless heroics. It would certainly be too incredible to be fiction!
I greatly enjoyed it, Rayner's passion for his subject clearly comes through.
One criticism, the pictures within the book are limited...
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