September 1962: On a moonless night over the raging Atlantic Ocean, a thousand miles from land, the engines of Flying Tiger flight 923 to Germany burst into flames, one by one.
Pilot John Murray didn’t have long before the plane crashed headlong into the 20-foot waves at 120 mph.
As the four flight attendants donned life vests, collected sharp objects, and explained how to brace for the ferocious impact, 68 passengers clung to their seats: elementary schoolchildren from Hawaii, a teenage newlywed from Germany, a disabled Normandy vet from Cape Cod, an
immigrant from Mexico, and 30 recent graduates of the 82nd Airborne’s Jump School. They all expected to die.
Murray radioed out “Mayday” as he attempted to fly down through gale-force winds into the rough water, hoping the plane didn’t break apart when it hit the sea.
Only a handful of ships could pick up the distress call so far from land. The closest was a Swiss freighter 13 hours away. Dozens of other ships and planes from nine countries abruptly changed course or scrambled from Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, and Cornwall, all racing to the rescue—but they would take hours, or days, to arrive.
From the cockpit, the blackness of the Atlantic grew ever closer. Could Murray do what no pilot had ever done—“land” a commercial airliner at night in a violent sea without everyone dying? And if he did, would rescuers find any survivors before they drowned or died from hypothermia in the icy water?
The fate of Flying Tiger 923 riveted the world. Bulletins interrupted radio and TV programs. Headlines shouted off newspapers from London to LA. Frantic family members overwhelmed telephone switchboards. President Kennedy took a break from the brewing crises in Cuba and Mississippi to ask for hourly updates.
Tiger in the Sea is a gripping tale of triumph, tragedy, unparalleled airmanship, and incredibly brave people from all walks of life. The author has pieced together the story—long hidden because of murky Cold War politics—through exhaustive research and reconstructed a true and inspiring tribute to the virtues of outside-the-box-thinking, teamwork, and hope.
Learn more at TigerintheSea.com
In 2009 Eric Lindner became a hospice volunteer, helping patients cope with the reality of dying. His book Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life was critically acclaimed by leading doctors and caregivers, NPR, BBC, Washington Independent Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist’s Rebecca Vnuk, who named it one of 2013’s five best memoirs. Since 2015 the attorney, businessman, and DC native has been teaching Ethics in Action at Georgetown University, a course that dissects the NASA Challenger disaster. He’s married to Captain Murray’s daughter; they live on California’s Central Coast.
“Tiger in the Sea is one of the most remarkable sagas in the history of commercial aviation. The airmanship, courage, and commitment to duty of Captain Murray and his crew was heroic beyond measure. Their story is well told in this spellbinding book!”—Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, FedEx Corporation (which bought The Flying Tiger Line in 1989).
“Tiger in the Sea is a riveting tale of heroism and survival. Lindner does an amazing job of capturing the most harrowing experience anyone can go through—an aircraft ditching at sea. Using the diverse voices and personal backgrounds of the passengers and crew on board Flying Tiger 923, he weaves a gripping tapestry that makes the reader part of the ordeal rather than just an observer. I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a well-told story.”—Michael G. Walling, author of the critically acclaimed In the Event of a Water Landing and Bloodstained Sea: The U.S. Coast Guard in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1941-1944 and former Coast Guard senior petty officer who participated in many search and rescue missions
“This compelling book illustrates ingenuity, leadership, and the power of working together with a find-a-way attitude, as it wraps the story of a fearless pilot around intriguing narratives of other courageous people. We need the inspiration of humble, unsung heroes now more than ever!”—Alan Mulally, former CEO of Boeing and Ford; inductee, International Air & Space Hall of Fame and Automotive Hall of Fame; current director, Alphabet and Mayo Clinic.
“Some writers have it, most don’t. Eric Lindner is one of those rare finds who definitely has it. Tiger in the Sea is unputdownable. What the men, women and children from all walks of life endured is unimaginable, their bravery inspirational. That anyone survived is a miracle and a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.”---Robert Goolrick, author of five books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller A Reliable Wife and the critically acclaimed memoir The End of the World as We Know it: Scenes from a Life
“Breathtaking! Forty-seven years before Sully’s Hudson river feat, what John Murray did in the Atlantic Ocean stunned the world. The close-ups of how trauma ripples out and impacts people differently are deftly rendered and highly relatable.”—Lee Woodruff, co-author of the New York Times #1 bestseller In An Instant; co-founder of Stand Up For Heroes.
“A mesmerizing epic that highlights courage, service to others, faith, and fierce determination.”
—Mike McCurry, former White House Press Secretary; Professor/Director, Center for Public Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary.
“Aviation and adventure buffs will be riveted.” —Publishers Weekly