On August 15, 1939, a small British airliner took off from London, stopped in Hamburg, and was bound for Copenhagen. In addition to the pilot, there was an odd, if not mysterious, group of passengers on board: a German corporate lawyer, an English Member of Parliament, two employees of Standard Oil of New Jersey, and an additional crew member whose employer, much less his duties, remains a mystery to this day.
The flight never reached its destination. Instead something went terribly wrong enroute, when a fire raged out of control in the cabin and the aircraft crashed into cold Danish waters near a bridge that connects the cities of Vordingborg and Falster/Nykobing. Only the pilot survived. Seventeen days later, Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began. Subsequently, the bridge went on to earn the nickname “bridge of deaths” because it was a key navigation check point for allied aircraft on their way to bomb Germany and also a favorite deployment site for German antiaircraft guns.
The demise of British Airways Ltd. Lockheed Electra 10A, serial number G-AESY, raised a variety of disturbing questions for accident investigators e.g., were the passengers listed on the manifest really who they said they were? Were they travelling as a group, perhaps for a meeting, clandestine or otherwise, or was their meeting accidental? How did the cabin fire start? Was it accidental or an act of sabotage? If the latter, by whom and for what purpose? Given that a British aircraft built in the U.S. crashed in Denmark under circumstances inviting the attention of civil aviation, law enforcement, and military authorities; it is not surprising that the investigators, all working under the cloud of war and government secrecy, made little progress toward finding the answers to these questions. But one person continues to ask them even to this day: M.C.V a.k.a. “Catalina” Egan, author of “The Bridge of Deaths.” Why such an unrelenting pursuit of the truth? Quite simply, it was a family thing. You see, one of the Standard Oil passengers, Cesar Agustin Castillo, was her Grandfather.
It took the author nearly twenty years of research, mostly in times when such research was not practical or available on the internet, and multiple visits to Denmark, London, and other locations relative to the book; before fashioning a plausible theory about what happened aboard G-AESY. “The Bridge of Deaths” is her story; a story so rich in well written descriptions and anecdotes plus pictures; that mental images of the many interesting people she encountered along the way literally fly into the minds of the readers.
“The Bridge of Deaths” is not a work of fiction; nor is it a historical novel, autobiography, or a research paper on steroids. If not, then in which category does it fit? The answer is all the above! By managing to adroitly tell her story through the eyes of three principle characters: the author, a man who is very real but she has never met, and a fictional character, a bright sassy fictional young woman who adds spice to the story line; and by adding a handful of reputable psychics plus experts in hypnotic regression and other paranormal activities to the story line, she managed to write a fascinating, eminently readable book that avoids being stored in one of the above-mentioned dusty, literary pigeon holes. Quite a feat!
Please note my comment above: “before fashioning a plausible theory about what happened aboard G-AESY.” The final truth is almost within Catalina Egan’s grasp, but she is not quite there. This is actually good news for her readers because she told me that next year, reams of classified information concerning its accident is due to be released by the various governments involved and if so, more than likely the whole truth will finally be known. She also promised that when that happens, she will write a sequel to “The Bridge of Deaths”. I can’t wait to read it, but readers should read this book now, so you will be prepared for the sequel. Well done Senora Egan. Very well done indeed!
- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: Author House Publishing (June 14, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1463410417
- ISBN-13: 978-1463410414
Available from all major online sellers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Ron Standerfer is a novelist, freelance writer, book reviewer, and photographer whose articles have appeared in numerous news publications including online editions of the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and the Honolulu Star Advertiser. He is a member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance (ITWPA) and American Writers & Artists Inc (AWAI). He is a retired Air Force fighter pilot who flew 237 combat tours in Vietnam War. His novel, The Eagles Last Flight, chronicles the life of an Air Force fighter pilot during The Cold War and Vietnam years. He also publishes an online magazine, The Pelican Journal.