Logbook: May 24th, 2009.

Published on by Patricia Lamy pour Bernard Decré

 

The weather is still very rough: yesterday, 30 kts winds formed very hoarse seas. The regular boat from Terre Neuve had to stop her engines three times and got quite late in Saint Pierre. We had a shaky reconnaissance flight in a little twin engine aircraft, to try to figure out the direction of the ditching. This place is a huge ship grave: between the Sailors island and Lost child islet, were dozens of pieces of wreckages. We couldn't help trying to see, among the rocks, a little piece from our Oiseau Blanc.

We are also looking for more clues on the ground: we meet old people, search in Saint Pierre Museum archives, and in the evening, look for information in the sailors bars, like "chez Tchéo" .After a few beers, people talk a little about the Oiseau Blanc, a little more about the Ravenel. One knows who dived to get the throttle, one that the ship was cut in two pieces.. Many people know a lot about this wreckage, and one can guess why there was such a long silence: responsilibity, insurance, human fault... What the people of Saint Pierre want now, is to forget these sad events, and to know, at last, where she rests. We will try to help them close the Ravenel file.

Today in the afternoon, a lady came to me and said: " don't you think they have been shot by a coast guards boat? " Well, I know that the « IcePatrol Cutters » were there to signal icebergs, and also to chase the bootleggers. You need to remember that Nungesser's sign was a black heart. "Well", the lady continues "they have been shot on purpose, because there could only be one pilot to cross the Atlantic: an American! "
We prefer to stay careful: they saw the hills of Saint Pierre above the fog, they wanted to ditch with minimum speed near the harbour, and thought they could cut the engine, smooth out, and straighten out the throttle... But the crash was deadly.
photo : JC L'Espagnol.

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