Audiobook Review: Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival


You can’t listen to Flight 232, A Story of Disaster and Survival, written by Laurence Gonzales and narrated by Victor Bevine, without feeling like you went through this historic plane crash yourself.

Here is the description from Amazon:

“Twenty-five years after the catastrophe, a dramatic and extraordinarily rare 360-degree view of the crash of a fully loaded jumbo jet.

As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn’t move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash. And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived.

No one has ever attempted the complete reconstruction of a crash of this magnitude. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of survivors, crew, and airport and rescue personnel, Laurence Gonzales, a commercial pilot himself, captures, minute by minute, the harrowing journey of pilots flying a plane with no controls and flight attendants keeping their calm in the face of certain death. He plumbs the hearts and minds of passengers as they pray, bargain with God, plot their strategies for survival, and sacrifice themselves to save others.

Ultimately he takes us, step by step, through the gripping scientific detective work in super-secret labs to dive into the heart of a flaw smaller than a grain of rice that shows what brought the aircraft down.

An unforgettable drama of the triumph of heroism over tragedy and human ingenuity over technological breakdown, Flight 232 is a masterpiece in the tradition of the greatest aviation stories ever told.”

None of the details are sanitized. You’ll learn about clothes burned onto bodies, a severed arm found nearby, and the practice of mapping bodies in a field for the morgue. Flight 232 led to changes in forensic dentistry. At the time it crashed, it was necessary to forcibly break a jaw to identify a dead body by teeth. Today a much less invasive digital technique is available.

From the pilots who landed the plane with a mechanical failure that would have made it impossible to land in less capable hands, to a man who rushed back in the burning plane to save a baby not his own, to the people on the ground who gathered to help when they saw the emerging disaster, Flight 232 is a story of heroes. This is a book that will stay with you a long time.

You can see the audiobook edition of Flight 232 on Amazon by clicking on the link below:

Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival

Disclosure: I received a copy of Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

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