Sole survivor of plane crash featured in new film

MINNEAPOLIS - George Lamson, Jr., 46, of Reno, Nevada came home to Minnesota on Thursday to see a documentary that bares his soul about what happened to him 28 years ago. Lamson is the only survivor of the Galaxy Airlines crash of January 21, 1985 at the Reno Airport.

Documentary Director Ky Dickens of Chicago convinced Lamson and 3 other survivors of plane crashes to tell their stories in her new documentary, "Sole Survivor", which had its Minnesota first showing at the Riverview Theater in South Minneapolis Thursday evening.

"If I ever wanted to tell my story," said Lamson, "I would like to do it with somebody that was sincere and coming from a good place and she (Dickens) definitely was."

Dickens is a survivor, herself, having traded her front seat in a car as a teenager to a boy who wanted to ride in front. "We switched places and about 4-5 minutes later, the car was in an accident and he died and I lived and it was very weird," said Dickens.

The documentary includes three other sole survivors: Cecelia Chichan, who was 4 years old when Northwest Airlines flight 255 crashed on takeoff at Detroit's Romulus, Michigan airport. Also, Jim Polehinke, the co-pilot and sole survivor of Comair Flight 5191 at Lexington, Kentucky in 2006 and Bahia Bakari of France, sole survivor of the 2009 Yemenia Airbus crash, tell their stories for the first time.

"There is often a misperception that if you survive something, you are lucky,"said Dickens. "And George has said this, all of the survivors have said this, that people might have approached them and say, you know, you are a miracle. There is something that you are supposed to do with your life or you might have the cure for cancer and that just puts such undue pressure on someone. The most important thing for me for people to take away (from her documentary) is that survivors are victims, too."

Lamson's hope for the project is simple. "What I would like to have people do is be able to learn from my experience."

Lamson said he lives in Reno because he told his father on the ill-fated 1985 trip that he wanted to live there. Five years after the accident, he made his home in Reno and raised a now teenaged daughter there.

"Sole Survivor" is expected to available on DVD later in the year, possibly on Amazon and/or Netflix. It may have a wider theatrical release as well, according to Dickens.


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