Surviving Flight 295: Life after the Helderberg

It has been 27 years since the worst air disaster in the history of South African aviation, and it’s been 27 years since Dominique Luck lost her mother and baby sister, Samantha, who were passengers on the aircraft.

Flight SA 295 plunged into the Indian Ocean off Mauritius at midnight on 28 November 1987; there were no survivors. It was an event that shocked the nation, and the world, and for eight-year-old Dominique Luck (née Ackermann), it was the defining moment of her young life. 

Speculation immediately spread about the cause of the fire that led to the crash and possible political motivations, but despite renewed investigation over the years, including during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the answers have never been forthcoming. For nearly 30 years Dominique and other family members of the ill-fated passengers have been struggling to rebuild shattered lives and find personal closure. 

Left to her own devices as she grew up, and without being guided toward proper grieving, Dominique alternately tried to escape and numb her pain. She dissociated with the story of the Helderberg, avoiding the news, for the greater part of her life.

Her greatest crisis came when her own children were born. The trauma of losing her mother was brought to the fore and forced her to face up to the issues she had suppressed her whole life. Could she rise to be the parent she had never had? In reaching out, at last, she began a painful process of recovery.


About the Author

Joanne Lillie is the former deputy editor of Shape magazine and editor of Discovery magazine, and has been writing professionally for 15 years. Joanne currently works as a freelance health journalist and editorial consultant.

Joanne’s awards include two Picas for health journalism, the Novo Nordisk Media Prize, and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism from the Carter Center in Georgia, USA, to study maternal and infant mental health. She is passionate about telling inspiring stories, and in particular those exploring the mother-daughter bond. Joanne lives in Cape Town with her husband and two young daughters.

Parameters of Book: 
Author: Dominique Luck with Joanne Lillie
ISBN: 9781431409365
d-PDF ISBN:  9781431409372
ePUB ISBN: 9781431409389
mobi file ISBN: 9781431409396
Size (mm): 235x155mm
Pages: 224pp
Format: Trade Paperback
Colour: Black and White with Colour Section
Rights: World
Language: English
Publication Date: September 2014