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Miracle Landing is an Emmy-winning 1990 made-for-TV movie based on an in-flight accident aboard Flight 243marker that occurred in April 1988. The Boeing 737-200 was flying from Hilo, Hawaiimarker to Honolulu, Hawaiimarker, when it experienced rapid decompression when a section of the fuselage was torn away. With one person blown from the cabin and dozens injured, the aircraft was able to make a successful emergency landing at Kahului Airportmarker, on Mauimarker. The film aired on the USmarker television network, CBS in early 1990 and has since been shown on networks throughout the world in syndication.


The story begins in a flight simulator with two pilots failing a simulated flight in which they face the challenge of landing a crippled jet. During the de-briefing they discover the challenge was based on a real life account and that the two pilots managed to fly that plane to safety without the benefit of such training. The story then flashes back, a few days before the events of Paradise Airlines 243.

The story follows three crew members.
  • Madeleine "Mimi" Tompkins, a First Officer pilot for Paradise Airlines, who has been selected for training to become a full Captain in the airline, having been the first female pilot to be hired by Paradise in 1979.
  • Captain Robert "Bob" Schornstheimer, introduced relaxing on his private boat with his wife.
  • Flight attendant Michelle Honda, shown with her young daughter of whom she paints a portrait wearing traditional Hawaiian costume.

Paradise Airlines Flight 243 is an inter-island flight from Honolulu to Hilo, with a return to Honolulu the same day. The characters are developed during several scenes set during the layover, and passengers are introduced to the audience during check-in scenes.

The flight then takes off over Hilo, and soon beverage service begins. During that time nothing out of the ordinary occurs, and after David calls C.B. back and asks her about the crack appearing in the ceiling. At that moment, chaos breaks loose and the entire front and top half section of the plane apart from the cockpit and cargo hold, blows off in a clean cut. In the mess, Michelle falls to the floor and clings to a passenger's seat, C.B. is blown from the aircraft, and passengers are badly injured from debris and decompression. Jane is thrown to the ground and clings to life and to other passengers to avoid the same fate as C.B. The cockpit is unaware of the full scale of the disaster and believe a bomb or decompression has occurred. Soon passengers seated in the section that wasn't swept away have oxygen masks fall but it is useless as all the lines were destroyed. But the plane was at a low altitude thus it hadn't affected them as badly. Mimi and Bob contact Kahului Airport for an emergency deceleration.

Soon, the pilots are forced with the fact they may crash and passengers may die, both Mimi and Bob have flashbacks to her training days and his Air Force, respectively. Michelle has a flashback to walking the shoreline with her father who as a soldier in the Army, has died. Jane's injuries worsen and Michelle struggles to climb to her and help her. Later, she also feels she might lose it from the chaos and picks up the call phone only to find it dead. Dorothy leans out of the plane and appears to have a state of shock before George notices and pulls her back in the plane. Michelle then begins to instruct the passengers on a possible crash landing or water landing and passes out life jackets. Gail becomes hysterical when she cannot get a life jacket for David, but soon is calmed by Michelle. Roy panics when he sees hydraulic fluid leaking from the wings. The tower alerts Kahului Fire and Rescue personnel and they arrive before the crippled jet lands. Finally after several tense minutes, Mimi and Bob are able to figure out a plan for the emergency.

After some time, the plane lands but with difficulties in the brakes to the vessel and hydraulics. The pilots were worried that the landing might result in a broken plane and fire, but miraculously their landing resulted in no deaths and the emergency notification allowed crews to treat and evacuate passengers immediately.


Other Information

  • The real name of the airline is not used in the movie. The aircraft (registration N70723) instead bears the colours of the fictitious Paradise Airlines. The real airline was Aloha Airlines.[161720]
  • An air traffic controller was flying on the jump seat on flight 243, which is not shown in the movie.
  • During the filming, Ana Alicia, who played a flight attendant, broke a rib and suffered from a lung infection caused by the smoke used for special effects. [161721]

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