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Discovery Channel crashes plane for documentary

April 29, 2012 | 11:04 am

Discovery Channel's crashed 727

Discovery Channel crashed a Boeing 727 passenger jet Friday in the Sonoran Desert in Mexico as part of its documentary series "Curiosity."

The as-yet-untitled episode will look to "re-create a serious, but survivable, passenger jet crash landing with a real aircraft," Discovery said in a statement. The plane was loaded with crash test dummies and cameras to examine impact. The plane was also followed by other planes filming the crash and by camera crews on the ground that also documented the event.

"This groundbreaking project features an actual crash of a passenger jet and explores the big questions about how to make plane crashes more survivable; it's the ideal premiere episode for our 'Curiosity' series that stirs the imagination of our audience, bravely asking questions and fearlessly seeking answers," said Eileen O'Neill, president of Discovery Channel.

Discovery said safety precautions were taken and that the Mexican military and police, as well as private security, staffed the area of the crash. The aircraft will eventually be salvaged and Discovery said an "extensive environmental cleanup operation is being carried out by a reputable agency with the full cooperation of the Mexican authorities." The pilot ejected from the plane minutes before impact.

The episode will be shown on Discovery later this year.

Years ago, Fox considered crashing a plane for a reality special. However the project never got off the ground after critics complained the network was doing it for sensationalistic, rather than educational, reasons.

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-- Joe Flint

Photo: Discovery Channel's crashed 727. Credit: Vance Jacobs / Discovery

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