When French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint- Exupery flew off alone into a July night in 1944 and vanished, his mysterious end became an integral part
of the story of his life. Now, hundreds of pieces of a wrecked Lockheed Lightning, found on the Mediterranean seabed off the coast of Provence, have been positively identified as the airplane he was flying that night on a wartime spy mission. French authorities confirmed the find yesterday, based on a serial number found on a piece of the tail. Saint-Exupery is beloved in France as the author of “The Little Prince.” No body was found, and so far the wreck has not revealed any cause for the crash. “This was our holy grail,” Philippe Castellano, president of an association of aviation buffs who helped authorities identify the debris, told the Associated Press. “We never even imagined this.” Castellano said some Saint-Exupery fans resisted the effort to identify the wreck, preferring to keep the mystery alive. “In the end, I think everyone is satisfied,” he said. “We didn’t find a body, so the myth surrounding his disappearance will live on.” Saint-Exupery also wrote poetic novels based on his flying adventures, such as “Wind, Sand, and Stars” and “Night Flight.” A new opera based on “The Little Prince” opened in Houston, Texas, last year.