While shrieks of panic fill the plane, Captain William Whitaker keeps his cool, and with extraordinary skill, he rolls the plane upside down to bring it out of the dive and then somehow maneuvers the plane right-side up just before crash-landing in an open field.
Miraculously, only six people are killed-two flight attendants and four passengers.
is celebrated as a hero for saving 96 souls in a crash that should have had no survivors.
has a secret.
showed up that morning for duty drunk and high.
In fact, while the plane was en route, he
discretely snuck vodka from the plane cabinet and mixed it in his
bottle of orange juice.
As part of the protocol for any plane crash, a federal investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash.
And so Whitaker
attorney will fight to keep his
alcoholism a secret.
The reason for the crash truly was an aircraft malfunction-a damaged screw in the elevator assembly of the plane.
But if it gets out that Whitaker
was drunk on the job, there will be public outrage and he
will go to prison.
alcoholism is a secret, everybody close to him knows.
is only lying to himself.
alcoholism takes him down a path towards destruction, leading to the breakdown of his
marriage, an estranged relationship with his
son, and a life of loneliness and bondage.
And now, he
may go to prison for manslaughter should it be made known that he
was drunk while flying the plane.
As the investigation of the tragedy of South Jet Flight 227 comes to a head, captain Whitaker is required to appear before the National Transportation Safety Board for a hearing.
attorney has done his
homework, and they have proof that the crash was the result of an aircraft malfunction.
It looks like Whitaker
will get off the hook.
At the hearing, the lead NTSB investigator commends Whitaker
But just when it appears he
will escape culpability, she
raises the fact that there were two empty alcohol containers found in the trash on the plane.
knows these were his
The investigator points out that only the flight crew had access to the alcohol.
Since the toxicology reports showed alcohol in the blood of only one of the members of the flight crew, a flight attendent named Katrina who died helping a little boy get his
seat buckled, the investigator asks Whitaker
thinks Katerina may have been drinking on the job.
This is a key moment of decision for Whitaker
let Katrina take the fall, or will he
finally come clean and break free from all the lies?
I want to end this morning by showing you a clip from the movie.
Now I should probably give a spoiler alert-the scene you are about to see is the climax and the end of the film.
Here it is…
[The film clip shows Whitaker
sitting before the NTSB
, pausing before he
answers the investigator's question "Is it your opinion, Mr. Whitaker
, that Katrina drank the two vodka bottles on the plane?
takes a drink of water, whispers under his
breath, "God help me,"and then tells the truth.
accepts responsibility, confessing that he
is the one who drank the vodka.
Even more, for the first time in his
confesses that he
is an alcoholic.
The scene changes to Whitaker
sitting in a room with a group of inmates in prison.
has been there for a little over a year.
"The funny things is,"says Whitaker
, "here I am locked up with all you folk, but for the first time in my life I'm finally free."