The Allies’ bombing of Saint-Malo has died down. The city is in ruins. A final American airplane drops a bomb at the Fort National, where 380 Frenchmen are being held against their will. Nine Frenchmen are killed instantly. Some of these men were playing bridge when they were killed.
Here Doerr comments on the unpredictability of fate, as more innocent civilians are killed by mistake or random chance. Doerr also doesn’t make it clear whether or not Etienne is one of those killed.