Sole Survivor, a documentary film that includes Jim Polehinke, the co-pilot and lone survivor of the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington, will be screened July 18 at the Kentucky Theatre.
The film marks the first time Polehinke and his wife, Ida, have spoken publicly about the crash, which killed 49 people at Blue Grass Airport on Aug. 27, 2006. For the documentary, filmmaker Ky Dickens focused on Polehinke and three other sole survivors of airline crashes.
There are only 14 known sole survivors of commercial airline crashes in the world. The film seeks to illuminate that experience of those people who, for the most part, have not discussed their experiences publicly.
Polehinke is the only pilot among the survivors, and the film addresses him living with the knowledge that a National Transportation Safety Board's investigation determined that the crash was caused by pilot error.
"First of all, he would have rather died," Ida Polehinke said in a film clip that was provided last fall to WKYT (Channel 27). In a transcribed quote posted on WKYT.com, she said, "His conviction as a pilot was so great that he would have rather gone down with the ship. And that is how he felt. His heart was always with the passengers and never ever with himself. It is such an emotional cross that he bears that no one really sees but me. I wish we could convey that. And he would have given anything to have gone with all of them rather than sitting here today doing this."
The Polehinkes are featured prominently in promotion for the film, particularly a photo of the former pilot in his wheelchair, watching an airplane take off. Polehinke lost the use of both legs in the crash, and one leg was amputated below the knee. Dickens said Polehinke was the only person in the film with a significant disability as a result of a crash.
The film recounts that Polehinke keeps under his wheelchair a page from the Herald-Leader with photos and profiles of all the victims of the crash.
Sole Survivor has screened in Minneapolis and near Detroit, the sites of other crashes profiled in the film.
Dickens and film producers will attend the Lexington screening and will take questions after the film. According to the film's Facebook page, proceeds from the screening will be donated to "various foundations to support the visions and philanthropy of 5191 victims' families."
IF YOU GO
What: Documentary about sole survivors of commercial airline crashes that includes Jim Polehinke, a pilot in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington in 2006
When: 7 p.m. July 18
Where: Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St.
Tickets: $9, available in advance at Brownpapertickets.com/event/392506.
Learn more: Solesurvivorfilm.com
Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: Copiousnotes.bloginky.com.