When TWA Flight 800 left JFK Airport in 1996, its destination was Paris but it sadly never made it. While it was universally recognized as a tragedy, there was a great deal of speculation about the reasons for the explosion which destroyed the Boeing 747-100. All 200 individuals on board that day perished. Witnesses suggested that the flight had been shot down based on their perspective. The ensuing investigation to the reasons for this calamity and the circumstances surrounding it would last a year and a half until the FBI released their findings. This occurrence is depicted through reenactments in Air Emergency’s “Explosive Proof.” This Cineflex Production program airing on Discovery Channel Canada is as informative and poignant today as it was more than a decade ago.
Air Emergency is a documentary/history/drama production which, although it is entertaining, seeks to be informative. The purpose of the stories it presents is to away take the mystery and remove confusing supposition as it relates to these real life events. A vast majority of each episode is based on the investigations which follows these tragic happenings rather than solely emotional moments. That being said, many gifted actors portray the actual people in these situations to respectfully convey the human loss. Flight 800 exploded only twelve minutes after takeoff with no visible outside force causing this, leaving devastated families and the public wondering what could have caused it. Only years later would it be confirmed that the accident was a result of old wiring and excessive temperatures from an AC unit.
It’s unfortunate that news programs are often forgotten. A highly beneficial aspect of Air Emergency is that the performance of talented professionals who manifest and present the factual events in an organic manner (rather than the often cold and stoic demeanor of the news) resonates deeply with viewers. The knowledge of this permeates all segments of the production. Actor Bruce Pringle delivers a powerful and endearing performance as Captain Steven Snyder in “Explosive Proof.” Pringle felt the responsibility to discover everything he could about this family man who lost his life in the tragedy. He reveals, “It was deeply important to me that I learn everything I could about Captain Steven Snyder. I wanted to present him as the writers had but also to find ways to be aware and sensitive to those who loved him would and how they would want to see him. He had children and an ex-wife. He loved to play golf. It was my job to show a man who was all of those things rather than simply as part of this in-air tragedy.” Bruce Pringle’s depiction somehow finds a way to be positive when appropriate even in this sobering storyline, a high demand for an actor in a story such as this and done with incredible skill. Captivating performances like that of Pringle’s have made Air Emergency the decade and a half-long airing massive success that it is today, because it’s the people who are the heart of the story.
Some tales, like some real life events, are one’s that we would rather there wasn’t a need for…but that simply isn’t realistic. Things happen in life that we are not happy about, things which disturb and frighten us; the only positive reaction we can have is to become informed. Air Emergency episodes such as “Explosive Proof” have a desired goal of assisting the public in dealing with anxiety and moving in an educated direction.