Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop

Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop

by Carol Shaben

In the tradition of Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm comes the riveting account of a deadly plane crash in northern Canada and its aftermath.

Written by an award-winning journalist who is the daughter of one of the survivors, Into the Abyss is a dramatic true story of survival, and a compassionate account of 4 men's journey from the depths of tragedy to the riches of lives begun anew.

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. 4 survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. 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.


Carol Shaben, author

Carol Shaben is an award winning journalist and author. Nominated as Canada's Best New Magazine writer, she is a recipient of two National Magazine Awards including a Gold Medal for Investigative Journalism. Her most recent book, The Marriott Cell, co-written with award-winning Egyptian-Canadian journalist, Mohamed Fahmy, was published by Random House Canada in November 2016, the book was long listed for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize, selected as one of the Globe 100 Best Books of the Year and received the 2016 Ontario Historical Society Huguenot Award.


  • “Gripping and emotionally affecting… this is a deep and satisfying book.” - The Washington Post Link to review
  • “As a concept, it doesn't get much better [than this] ... Into the Abyss is in the best traditions of true-life journalism and grips from beginning to end.” - The Times (UK)


  • Finalist, BC Book Prizes Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
  • Winner, 2013 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Westwood Creative Artists



rights sold: Brazil (Record), Canada (Random House), Netherlands (Carrera Uitgeverij), Film (Blood Orange Pictures - Orchard Beach Entertainment), Spain (Roca), UK (Picador - Macmillan), US (Grand Central Publishing - Hachette Book Group)

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 336

publication date: 09/01/2012

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book