Mystery of Little Prince Author's Fate Solved

German vet tells archaeologist, 'I shot down Saint-Exupéry'
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2008 1:37 PM CDT
Francois D'Agey, a relative of French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery attends a press briefing besides an original drawing by Saint-Exupery.   (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)
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(Newser) – One of aviation’s great mysteries has been solved: What happened to Antoine de Saint-
Exupéry, the French pilot and author of The Little Prince, who disappeared in 1944. A bracelet turned up in the Mediterranean a decade ago, then a sunken aircraft. An archeologist diver, not satisfied to stop there, contacted hundreds of veterans before hearing, “You can stop searching. I shot down Saint-Exupéry.”

The pilot, Horst Rippert, says he shot down a P-38 with French colors near Marseille, the New York Times reports. Days later, he learned that the author he revered as a kid had disappeared. Convinced that he was responsible, he confided his fears only to his diary. Some are skeptical of Rippert’s claims, but Saint-Exupery’s grandnephew called his story credible.