New film documents crash of PSA flight 182 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

WEDNESDAY, April 7, 2010

New film documents crash of PSA flight 182

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - It's the deadliest aircraft disaster in San Diego history. Now a new documentary is looking at the 1978 crash of PSA Flight 182 after colliding with a small plane over North Park.

The man behind the film may seem like an unlikely choice to produce a documentary on San Diego's worst aviation disaster. But David Fresina spent his own time and money interviewing dozens of San Diegans, collecting their pictures, film and memories, allowing them a way to tell their story of that horrific way.

On Sept. 25, 1978, Fresina was only 11 at home in Massachusetts when he watched the deadliest commercial air crash to date unfold before him on TV news.

"I was thinking of those people on the plane, what were they going through, what were they thinking?" he said.

PSA Flight 182 was nearing Lindbergh Field when it struck a Cessna that flew into its path. The Boeing 727 slammed into North Park near the intersection of Dwight and Nile.

The crash killed 144 people, including seven on the ground, and damaged or destroyed 22 homes, strewing wreckage for blocks. It's a tragedy that Fresina, a manager at a Home Depot outside Boston, had never forgotten. He was shocked no documentary on the crash and its aftermath had been made.

"Nothing, they did nothing about this, so I said, 'Why isn't anybody talking about this?'" he said.

So the aspiring filmmaker, now 42, put an ad on Craigslist in 2007, reaching out to witnesses and loved ones of the victims.

"I was bombarded with emails and phone calls and people on the phone crying to me. I realized I tapped into something out here," Fresina said.

He then invested two years and $30,000 of his own dollars in producing the 56-minute film "Return to Dwight and Nile".

"The purpose is to bring people together, and to allow them to start healing," Fresina said.

Fresina's film will also be broadcast on PBS in San Diego during the first week of May. He also plans to release a DVD of the documentary later this year, near the Sept. 25 anniversary.

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