Covering Louisiana

Jul 9, 2012 11:58 AM by AP/Photo courtesy of NOLA.COM

New documentary about 1982 Pan Am crash in Kenner

KENNER, La. (AP) - Evelyn Pourciau heard trees cracking and a jetliner sputtering. She looked up and saw a Boeing 727 crash, bodies scattering from the fuselage. A neighbor ran, burned skin hanging from her body. "It looked like Hades had turned loose," Pourciau said.

Her recollections are among those in "Pan Am Flight 759," Royd Anderson's new documentary about the crash that killed 154 people in Kenner on July 9, 1982. It is being released Monday, the 30th anniversary of crash, The Times-Picayune reported.

A memorial service, open to the public, was scheduled at 3 p.m. Monday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Kenner.

Flight 759 crashed just after taking off from New Orleans' international airport in a bad thunderstorm. It killed all 146 people on board and eight in the neighborhood. It also intensified work already in progress to learn about wind shear and microbursts - sudden downward winds - like those that caused the crash.

Anderson spent a year working on the film, collecting archival footage of the scene and interviewing first responders, witnesses, and relatives and friends of the dead.

A 58-minute version will show this week on Cox Cable stations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Acadiana. Anderson will discuss the documentary after showings of a 76-minute version at libraries in Metairie, Destrehan and Harvey, Houma and Mandeville.

The dead included elderly people and young children, families, people going on vacation, people returning home. Many lived in Louisiana, but passengers hailed from all over the United States as well as Hong Kong, Uruguay, Switzerland, the Bahama Islands and other countries.

"This was a tragedy that struck around the world," Mark Larkin, a Civil Defense worker who responded to the scene, says in the film.

Photo courtesy of NOLA.COM

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