Wednesday 18 January 2017

Tale of stranded pilot gets premiere

Published 01/06/2011 | 05:00

High-flyers: Jamie Kierans with Demian Bichir,who plays pilot Ernesto in the newfilm 'The Runway'
High-flyers: Jamie Kierans with Demian Bichir,who plays pilot Ernesto in the newfilm 'The Runway'

A FILM inspired by how a small community helped a pilot after he was forced to make an emergency landing on a racecourse will get its premiere tomorrow night.

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'The Runway' -- a film by Ian Power, which was filmed on location in Goleen, west Cork -- has received critical acclaim at two international film festivals and is set to go on general release next week after the screening in the Gate Cinema in Cork at 7pm tomorrow.

The film is loosely based on the dramatic events of April 18 1983, when a Mexican pilot, Reuben Ocana, was forced to make an emergency landing at Mallow Racecourse in north Cork.

Mr Ocana's Gulfstream II executive jet had been unable to land at Shannon due to dense fog. He was forced to make an emergency landing on the racecourse's grass track when he became afraid his aircraft wouldn't have enough fuel to divert to Cork Airport after flying from New Jersey in the US.

Last year, Mr Ocana's daughter, Marianne, paid an emotional trip to Ireland to thank all the people who had helped her late father after he made a text-book landing on the grass without anyone being injured.

"It is very special for me and my family," she told the Irish Independent.

Mr Ocana -- who was en route to Germany when he made the emergency landing -- became an instant celebrity in Mallow, where he lived for 39 days until a temporary tracked runway was constructed to allow him get the Gulfstream airborne again.

Irish Independent

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