September, 1962: on a moonless night over the raging Atlantic ocean, a thousand miles from land, the engines of a chartered plane to Germany burst into flames, one by one.
Flying Tiger 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, a recent immigrant from Mexico, and 30 recent graduates of the 82nd Airborne’s Jump School. They all expected to die.
Murray radioed out a “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 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.
In 2009, Eric Lindner began helping strangers 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, Publisher’s 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, that dissects the NASA Challenger disaster. He lives on California’s central coast.
Some writers have it, most don’t. Eric Lindner is one of those rare finds who definitely has it. Each sentence a glittering jewel, the whole a shining monument to the power of language. Expect great things from him—this the first of a string of brilliant books to be read for generations.
“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
"Leadership, humility, love, service, daring, inclusion, courage and working together.
Tiger in the Sea is a true compelling and suspenseful tale wrapped around a series
of wonderfully diverse and poignant stories of talented and motivated people. We
need these stories and the inspiration of unsung leaders and heroes more than ever!”
—Alan Mulally, former CEO of Boeing and Ford; protagonist in best-selling American
Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company; director, Alphabet and
“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.”---Robbie 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