Facing Disaster: World Premieres of NOVA’s Emergency Mine Rescue and Frontline’s The Spill

Release Date: 10/20/2010

Plus the Rebroadcast of NOVA's Space Shuttle Disaster

Tuesday, October 26 beginning at 8 p.m. on Connecticut Public Broadcasting (CPTV)

In recent months, the national conversation has hinged largely on the occurrence and aftermath of disasters. NOVA and Frontline examine the world’s most recent and formative disasters in two much-anticipated world premieres: the Chilean mine crisis and Gulf Coast oil spill. Also airing on CPTV’s evening of disaster programming is a rebroadcast of the 2008 NOVA special on the space shuttle Columbia disaster. The evening begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26 on CPTV.

Starting at 8 p.m., NOVA presents the world premiere of Emergency Mine Rescue, a one-hour film chronicling the fate of the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed Chilean gold and copper mine in August and the ongoing efforts to save them. Teaming up with Pioneer Production, NOVA follows the plight of the 33 men trapped underground and investigates the many challenges faced by the miners and by those working around the clock in a desperate bid to bring them safely to the surface. In Emergency Mine Rescue, NOVA interviews engineers, NASA experts, medical personnel, key figures from the companies providing drills and crucial rescue equipment, and others. Actual footage from the scene and special animation will be used to demonstrate the extraordinary feats of engineering, along with the biological and geological factors involved in the rescue. The film will also examine the psychological and physiological impact this kind of prolonged ordeal has on the miners and those involved in the rescue efforts.

At 9 p.m., tune in for Space Shuttle Disaster, NOVA’s investigation of NASA’s space shuttle program and the mistakes that led to the 2003 space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Exploring the past and future of the shuttle through the lens of the Columbia accident, NOVA interviews key NASA personnel who witnessed problems with the space shuttle program firsthand, and tried make sense of a cascade of warning signals from the craft during its ill-fated return to Earth.

At 10 p.m., it’s the world premiere of The Spill, Frontline’s interrogation of the politics and practices of British Petroleum (BP) that led to the Gulf Coast disaster. Long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that caused the spill, BP was widely viewed as a company that valued deal-making and savvy marketing over safety, a “serial environmental criminal” that left behind a long trail of problems – deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations – which many now believe should have triggered action by federal regulators. Could the spill have been prevented? Through interviews with current and former employees and executives, government regulators and safety experts, Frontline correspondent Martin Smith joins with the investigative non-profit ProPublica to examine the trail that led to the disaster in the Gulf. From BP’s vast oil fields in Alaska to its refineries in Texas and its trading rooms in New York and London, the film raises new questions about whether BP’s corporate culture will finally be forced to change.

About Connecticut Public Television

CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming.  CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily.  The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CBPN) also includes WNPR. WNPR is an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners weekly in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information.  Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live hosted by John Dankosky. CPBN also serves its audience with two broadcast and cable channels: CPTV4U, a channel featuring drama, performance, international news, and more; and CTSN, a 24/7 broadcast service offering coverage of the state’s high school and college sports. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers.  For more information, visit www.cptv.org. 

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