Duel in the Skies

The last flight of the Little Prince

Authors: Florian Huber. No genre - ZDF - 2008 - 45 min

At the end of July 1944, the pilot, adventurer and writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, didn't return from his last reconnaissance flight for the Allied armed forces. He was already famous for his book "The Little Prince", but his mysterious disappearance turned him into a legend.

In 2003 underwater archaeologists discovered the wreckage of a plane off the coast of Marseille which they identified as Saint-Exupéry's aircraft. But that was not all they found. In the sand around the wreckage they also uncovered the engine of a German pursuit plane. Did Saint-Exupéry collide in the air with a German plane? Did the author sacrifice himself and his unarmed reconnaissance plane in order to heroically bring the enemy down with him?

It is the start of an exciting hunt for the truth about one of the biggest myths of our time. We accompany the research work of an international team of underwater archaeologists, engineers, military historians and forensic pathologists. They want to know the answer to the question of what happened to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

A single grave on the beach, a vanished skeleton and the skull of a German officer on the desk of a doctor in the U.S. These are the pieces of the puzzle our treasure hunters have to put together.

Ultimately the collision theory turned out not to be watertight, but after more than half a century, a German aristocrat receives news about the fate of his brother. And an unexpected find in a German military archive adds a surprising twist. Thanks to an unofficial flight report, we stumble upon a sensation which leads us to identify the German Luftwaffe pilot who shot down Saint-Exupéry. He is still alive. In an exclusive interview with us, he faces the fact that he is responsible for the death of the Little Prince.