A TV PRODUCER from Chester has made television history by deliberately crashing a jumbo jet for an explosive Channel 4 feature to be screened nationwide on October 11.
Geoff Deehan, from Old Hall Lane in Hargrave, created the one-off documentary special in which a Boeing 727 nick-named ‘Big Flo’ was purposely crashed in the Mexican desert.
Filled with cameras, crash-test dummies and scientific equipment, the aircraft’s final journey gives viewers an unprecedented look at an airline disaster as it happens.
Speaking about the motivation behind the TV event, Mr Deehan said: “People crash-test cars all the time but until now no-one has ever crash-tested a full sized jumbo.
“The experiment has enabled us to witness, in a way never seen before, exactly what happens when a big plane crashes.”
Ex-BBC producer Mr Deehan has lived in rural Hargrave for six years since moving from London to enjoy the character and charm and is highly impressed with the production talent in the North West.
“The electronic revolution makes it possible to coordinate with people all over the world from London to Mexico and yet still enjoy the countryside and the gentle vibe of Chester,” he said.
“I am also excited about the up-and-coming talent and creative opportunities here.”
The feature-length documentary titled Plane Crash will be broadcast internationally and has already attracted attention on YouTube after amateur mobile-phone footage of the crash, which took place at the end of April, was uploaded to the site.
The Channel 4 broadcast will be the first time viewers can see the crash from many different camera angles and in high-definition.
Plane crashes are rare, and flying is safer than ever before, but many people still fear flying and the devastating effects of even a light aircraft crash have been felt keenly in Chester recently.
In August two men died when their Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk crashed in farmland near Churton, south of Chester.
Mr Deehan hopes the state-of-the-art research equipment carried on board Big Flo on her final journey will lead to improved safety in aircraft of all sizes.
“It’s taken a long time for an experiment like this to get up and running but my strong hope is that its findings and results will leave a positive legacy for aircraft safety for years to come and provide a spectacular visual experience for viewers.”
Mr Deehan is keen to make more of the filming opportunities offered by the region: “We’re working on a number of projects focusing on the North West.
“Following Britain’s equine success at the Olympics, for instance, we’re developing a series with Nina Barbour and the Bolesworth Estate, featuring internationally famous rider Oliver Townend, who is based near Ellesmere. ”
Plane Crash will be broadcast on Channel Four at 9pm on Thursday, October 11.