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Updated: 2004-08-06 09:08
Little Prince author remembered 60 years after disappearance

60年前神秘失踪 《小王子》作者至今令人怀念

A wreath thrown on Mediterranean waters commemorated the day 60 years ago when Antoine de Saint-Exupery, aviator and author of "The Little Prince," disappeared without trace during a wartime flying mission.

The ceremony took place off the south French city of Marseille near the island of Riou where Saint-Exupery's Lightning P38 military aircraft crashed and sank on a reconnaissance mission on July 31, 1944.

For decades mystery surrounded what happened to Saint-Exupery, author of the children's book "The Little Prince," which has captured the imaginations of young and old since its publication in 1943.

Those present at the Saturday remembrance ceremony at sea included Luc Vanrell, a local diver who last year discovered remains of the plane on the seabed.

Also present were three French authors of a book called "Saint-Exupery, the End of the Mystery" (Saint-Exupery, la fin du mystere).

Amateur historian Philippe Castellano, journalist Herve Vaudoit and photographer Alexis Rosenfeld retraced the research that led to the seabed remains being positively identified as those of Saint-Exupery's plane after six decades of speculation on his fate.

Saint-Exupery, a veteran pilot who helped establish Latin America's Aeropostale air delivery service in the late 1920s, went missing shortly after flying out of his base on Corsica in good weather.

A wreath-laying ceremony was also held at Bastia airfield on Corsica, followed by a mass in the Corsican town of Borgo, from which Saint-Exupery took off on the fateful last flight.

While serving with Free French Forces, he set out on the reconnaissance mission over Nazi-occupied southern France in preparation for the landing of Free French Forces in the south of France, shortly after the Allied invasion in Normandy.

Few bookshelves are complete without a copy of "The Little Prince," the tale of the little boy who leaves his home on a tiny asteriod and his beloved rose to search for adventure among the other planets, along the way learning valuable lessons about love and life.














wreath: flower arrangement consisting of a circular band of foliage or flowers for ornamental purposes(花圈,花环)

reconnaissance: the act of reconnoitring (especially to gain information about an enemy or potential enemy)(侦察,搜索)

veteran: a person who has served in the armed forces(老兵,经验丰富者)

asteroid: any of numerous small celestial bodies composed of rock and metal that move around the sun(星星)

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