Local Screenings of Film With Air Crash Survivor Cecelia Cichan

A documentary featuring the first intervierw with Cecelia Cichan, the lone passenger surviving a 1987 plane crash at Detroit Metro Airport, has preview screenings in Royal Oak on Wednesday and Thursday nigts.

"Sole Survivor," which opens nationally this summer, is being shown at 7 p.m. in the Emagine Theater, 200 N. Main Street. Director Ky Dickens will speak after tonight's 15 screening. (Tickets are available here.) 

The film profiles four people who were the lone survivors of fatal plane crashes, including the Aug. 16, 1987 loss of Northwest Flight 255 right after takeoff. The 8:46 p.m. accident killed 154 people aboard, including 4-year-old Cecelia's parents and brother, and two on the ground.

“I think about the accident every day. It’s kind of hard not to think about it when I look in the mirror,” she says, according to AP writer Mike Householder, who got an advance look at the film. “I have visual scars. My arms and my legs. And I have a scar on my forehead.”

She was raised in Alabama by an aunt and uncle. "Sole Survivor" shows her graduation from the University of Alabama with a psychology degree, her marriage (she's now Cecelia Crocker) and how she has a plane tattoo on her left wrist. 

"I got this tattoo as a reminder of where I’ve come from. I see it as — so many scars were put on my body against my will — and I decided to put this on my body for myself,” she says in the film, AP reports.

She isn’t afraid of air travel:

“Flying doesn’t scare me. I have this mentality where if something bad happened to me once on a plane, it’s not going to happen again. The odds are just astronomical.”

These survivors also break long silences about their experiences:

  • George Lamson Jr., a then 17-year-old from Plymouth, Minn., who was aboard a Galaxy Airlines flight that crashed in Reno, Nev.
  • Bahia Bakari, a 12-year-old girl who lived through a Yemenia Airways flight that crashed near the Comoros Islands in 2009.
  • Jim Polehinke, the co-pilot of a 2006 Comair flight that crashed in Lexington, Ky.

Previous coverage

Only Survivor of Flight 255 Crash Speaks for the First Time, June 11, 2012

Cecelia Cichan Talks for the First Time, 25 Years After the Crash of Flight 255, Aug. 13, 2012

Read more:  Sole Survivor film

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