Autonomy of an Aircrash

The survival stories are so astounding and heroic that they provide hope that it is possible to survive a plane crash and beat what appear to be overwhelming odds. -The Observer

One phrase in particular kept being repeated throughout the series: “If only the airline had just said they were sorry.” Instead, multibillion dollar corporations marshal the vast recourses at their disposal to deny responsibility and limit the payout. -The Times (London)

The untold human side of major airline disasters. Unlike most air disaster documentaries which focus on the cause of why planes go down and who is responsible, our film delves into the untold human side of aviation disasters.

Hour One takes a look at the physical and psychological plight of the people inside a crashing airliner, how they perceive what is happening to them, what determines whether they live or die, and what happens to those who survive the moment of impact.

Hour Two examines the immediate aftermath, how witnesses and rescue workers cope with the necessary but traumatic tasks of search, rescue, recovery, investigation and cleanup, tasks which often leave indelible imprints on the minds and in the hearts of those involved.

Hour Three looks at the long-term human consequences: what happens months and years later to those who survived, and to the families and friends of those who did not. Some people are shattered permanently by air disasters. But many survivors and family members become powerful advocates for air safety, founding organizations, battling government bureaucracies and airlines, and ultimately giving meaning to their loss by working to save lives.

Executive Producers: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato
Co-Producer: Mona Card
Director: John Sergeant