Into The Abyss: How A Deadly Plane Crash Changed The Lives Of A Pilot, A Politician, A Criminal And…

Hardcover | October 17, 2016

byCarol Shaben

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On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. Despite the poor weather, Erik Vogel, the 24-year-old pilot, was under intense pressure to fly--a situation not uncommon to pilots working for small airlines. Overworked and exhausted, he feared losing his job if he refused to fly. Larry Shaben, the author's father and Canada's first Muslim Cabinet Minister, was commuting home after a busy week at the Alberta Legislature. After Paul Archambault, a drifter wanted on an outstanding warrant, boarded the plane, rookie Constable Scott Deschamps decided, against RCMP regulations, to remove his handcuffs--a decision that profoundly impacted the men's survival. As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Into the Abyss is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation.

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From the Publisher

On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. Despite the poor weather, Erik Vogel, the 24-year-old pilot, was ...

CAROL SHABEN was nominated for 3 National Magazine Awards, including Best New Magazine Writer, and won 2 of them, a Gold Medal for Investigative Reporting and a Silver Medal for Politics and Public Interest. A former international trade consultant and CBC writer/broadcaster, CAROL was 22, living and working as a journalist in the Middl...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.33 × 6.34 × 1.15 inPublished:October 17, 2016Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307360229

ISBN - 13:9780307360229

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Customer Reviews of Into The Abyss: How A Deadly Plane Crash Changed The Lives Of A Pilot, A Politician, A Criminal And A Cop

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reads Like a Novel! Fascinating book written by the daughter of one of the survivors of a 1984 small commuter plane crash in northern Alberta. The book focuses on the regulation issues surrounding small aviation companies and the bond that was forged between the four survivors. Strongly recommended.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great page turner. I read it durning the holidays in two days and couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2015-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into the Abyss Couragious and Inspiring
Date published: 2014-09-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Into the Abyss A local setting written by a local auth or, enjoyed that part of it, would have liked a more in depth study of the relationship between the men.....tragic story
Date published: 2014-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into The Abyss A must read for all Albertans. A not so proud moment in time in Canadian aviation history, brought strangers together to inspire us all to live a mindful life and above all treasure our time on this amazing trip we call life..... Very grateful to Carol Shaben for sharing this incredible story.
Date published: 2014-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Riveting Thoroughly researched, wonderfully composed, and a very personal telling of a very public episode in Canadian air travel history.
Date published: 2014-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excactly what the book is about. I read this book several months ago and couldn't stop talking and thinking about it. I ended up buying it as a Christmas gift for both of my parents. They have very opposite reading interests but I thought that this book would appeal to both of them. My mother for the human interest and my father because he loves anything about flying or airplanes and particularly likes to read about accidents and what caused them.
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Into the Abyss This was an amazing read and very well written. It made me laugh & cry and I had a hard time putting the book down.
Date published: 2013-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Life changer I read this book for an upcoming meeting of my Toastmaster Book Club. The book tells the story of a plane crash. Not a big jetliner. Not a small cessna, but a ten passenger commuter prop plane. The book tells the story of how the four men, who were survivors, came to be on the doomed flight. It tells us of how the crash happened and what became of the men that survived. When I read the blurb about the book, it emphasized that something happen during the night while the men were waiting for their rescue. The author, a daughter of one of the survivors, said that she wanted to get to the bottom of what happen that night after the crash. I felt a little disappointed because that part of the sory is only a small part of the book. The author concentrates on the before and aftermath of the crash. The time between the crash and the rescue is relatively short. I can understand that the author would concentrate of the aftermath of the crash. This would be a life altering event for anyone. There were some surprises and disappointments with the four surviviors. I think the author did a good job of covering what each survivor went through afterwards and how it changed their lives. I enjoyed the book. I have not read too many books of air crash survival to make adequate comparsion.
Date published: 2013-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page-turning Non fiction This factual account of a plane crash in northern Alberta brings to light what happened when the motley group of passengers try to survive in the bush. While the crash killed several of the occupants, others lived to help each other and find the best of human nature that is revealed day by day.
Date published: 2013-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insane My mother just read this book ,she could not put it down. Turns out Eric Vogel is my Next door neighbour . He is currently a fire fighter as well as he does charity work , he builds schools for children in Africa. My mother's new paper is going to write a review on this book it has taken our little city by storm. I cant wait to read it !
Date published: 2013-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down!!! Very well written. Loved every minute of it. I feel so much for all four that survived. This book reminds me to be thankful. I strongly suggest this book to all.
Date published: 2013-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Required Reading for Aviation College This book should be on the reading list of every aviation college student in Canada. Working conditions for young pilots in Canada's north haven't changed much in over 25 years. Unless a rookie pilot's daddy works for [a major airline] his first job is going to be flying a floatplane up in Pickle Lake and de-icing it with a bucket and a mop. Author Shaben captures that part of the story perfectly through the eyes of Erik Vogel, the pilot of the accident aircraft. If your son or daughter is considering a career as a pilot, and you'd rather they studied business or law, then you should definitely buy this book and put it under the tree for Christmas. I bought Shaben's book on impulse. The picture on the book's dust jacket triggered my PTSD and caused me to pay list price. When I was captain of a Piper Cheyenne up north in 1988-89 I used to look out my window at those same trees covered with snow. I'd then glance inside the cockpit at the OAT gauge (outside air temp) that read -40C and then look down at the company-issued uniform I was wearing -- thin polyester slacks and dress shoes. I wouldn't have lasted twenty minutes. The four guys in Shaben's book lasted all night due to the efforts of Paul Archambault. It's a good story. It has a human element that will doubtless appeal to the Creative Writing, wine-and-cheese crowd (and, of course, put the book on an awards shortlist) but there is also a well researched "flying" story here that will appeal to the aviation geeks out there. Author Carol Shaben did a good job.
Date published: 2012-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful! Story Description: On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. Despite the poor weather, Erik Vogel, the 24-year-old pilot, was under intense pressure to fly – a situation not uncommon to pilots working for small airlines. Overworked and exhausted, he feared losing his job if he refused to fly. Larry Shaben, the author’s father and Canada’s first Muslim Cabinet Minister, was commuting home after a busy week at the Alberta Legislature. After Paul Archambault, a drifter wanted on an outstanding warrant, boarded the plane, rookie Constable Scott Deschamps decided, against RCMP regulations, to remove his handcuffs – a decision that profoundly impacted the men’s survival. As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Into the Abyss is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation. My Review: Into the Abyss is the true account of a plane crash that occurred on October 19th, 1984 piloted by then twenty-four-year-old, Erik Vogel. Erik worked for Wapiti Airlines, a small outfit that flew daily flights around the Alberta area, over Great Slave Lake in Yellowknife and often had the same passengers each week. Erik was severely overworked, lacked sleep, and was pushed to his limits fearing he’d lose his job if he didn’t take all flights given to him. That fateful night was snowy and stormy with nine passengers on board and including Erik, made ten. A relatively new and young RCMP officer was on board that night escorting a criminal, Paul Archambault on an outstanding warrant. It is against RCMP regulations to remove a prisoner’s handcuffs during a flight but for whatever reason, RCMP Officer Scott Deschamps decided to remove those cuffs for the flight. After the plane crashed, not only did removing those cuffs most likely prevent Paul from having his hands amputated at the wrists, but turned his prisoner into a hero. The author of the book, Carol Shaben’s father, Larry was on that flight that night. He was a prominent Cabinet Minister with the Canadian government and one of only four survivors. Ms. Shaben’s writing is clear, concise and so powerfully written that you won’t be able to put the book down. Even at 311pages, I read it in one sitting with only tea breaks in between! Into the Abyss is a story I will be recommending to my friends and keeping as part of my permanent collection.
Date published: 2012-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ...and life stopped for one day! I was completely enthralled by this book! It was beautifully written and I couldn't put it down. I knew very little of this accident; but love stories of survival. A plane goes down in the north; in the middle of winter. 4 men survive and forge very unlikely friendships. For one day (the same length of time these men waited to be rescued) I read and read. There was no way I could stop. Thank you Ms Shaben for sharing your fathers journey. It is not one that I will soon forget.
Date published: 2012-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Into The Abyss. I absolutely loved it.. The bond formed by 4 strangers who survived a plane crash is remarkable. It takes place mainly in Alberta, so living here makes it more real. Also the fact that 2 of the passengers were very well know politicians makes for an interesting story. It is well written and very hard to put down once you start it.
Date published: 2012-08-28

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

NATIONAL BESTSELLERFINALIST 2013 – Hubert Evans Non-Fiction PrizeWINNER 2013 – Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction“With Into the Abyss Carol Shaben gives us an astonishing true story of catastrophe and redemption. Shaben writes from the inside out, as in the best non-fiction, creating a nuanced and tightly braided portrait of four men and their shared trauma that is by turns terrifying and deeply humane. Every line in this uniquely Canadian story rings true.” —John Vaillant, author of The Tiger “Into the Abyss is a shot of storytelling adrenalin, taut and riveting and poised beautifully between pure action and thought. An extraordinary reading experience.” —Charles Foran, author of Mordecai: The Life & Times “Carol Shaben is a meticulous reporter and, most importantly, a remarkably empathetic one. In Into the Abyss, she combines these skills masterfully to explore the full emotional impact of a horrific accident. The drifter she never met is as alive and complex in this story as her beloved father, and together with the other two survivors they weave a powerful tale about the limits of human resilience in the face of tragedy.” —Chris Turner, author of The Leap and The Geography of Hope  “When a plane crashes in the mountains of northern Alberta, six people die, and four men of wildly different backgrounds survive—including a criminal on his way to court, who ends up rescuing his fellow passengers. But what makes this tale so remarkable is the meticulous way in which the author maps the human consequences of the tragedy: how it forged deep bonds among the survivors, and transformed their lives. This book leads us into classic, nail-biting Jon Krakauer territory—and then breaks new ground.” —Marni Jackson, co-director of the Banff Centre Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program “In her page-turning reconstruction of a small plane crash and its large aftermath, Carol Shaben vividly charts the emotional flight paths of four survivors, each an archetypal character entangled in a fateful web of incompetence and heroism, dumb luck and deliverance, guilt and salvation, trauma and transformation. Why, for some, does a deep shock act like a wake-up call; for others, nothing but an inexorable spiral into the abyss? In the end, the strangeness of true stories continues to rival fiction.” —James FitzGerald, author of What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son’s Quest to Redeem the Past