Towering Infernos • 1996 • episode "20/20" The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century

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Exploits of Firefighters Some of the world's most dramatic fires and how they have been fought, with live action footage of daring rescues and escapes. Spectacular, out-of-control blazes create unique problems for firefighters. During World War II, in Hamburg, bomb-triggered fires of unprecedented scale created heat so intense it sucked in hysterical bystanders. A 25-story Brazilian office complex belched thick, toxic smoke, trapping workers on balconies and windows. And the highrise MGM Grand Hotel, firefighters staged a daring helicopter rescue for frantic guests breaking out windows on the upper floors. No matter how great the danger, firefighters battle on until the last ember is doused... then prepare for the next inferno. The Towering Inferno was one of Hollywood's blockbuster disaster films. But the reality of a major fire that is out of control is a more frightening spectacle than any film can portray. Using live footage of the major fire disaters of the twentieth century, this episode shows how these towering infernos have been fought and the bravery that has led to daring rescues and unbelievable escapes.

The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century • 1996 • 7 episodes •

Who Dares Wins

The Story of the Special Air Service A young Commando officer conceived the idea in Egypt in 1941. Since then the SAS has grown to become the world’s most feared and prestigious Special Forces unit. The Special Air Service was created in 1941 by a young Commando officer, David Stirling, after a disastrous parachute jump whilst on duty in the Middle East. Since then the SAS has become the world's most feared and respected Special Forces unit. Only ten percent of those who apply for entry into SAS detachment are accepted to begin training--and few survive that. An SAS soldier must live off the land, crouch concealed for days at a time, live for months in the jungle or desert--and accompish the impossible. Since their creation, SAS forces have have completed missions in Egypt, Libya, the Falkland Islands and Borneo. Anywhere that Britain's interests are threatened, the SAS can be found...but not easily. Their history and most famous achievements, such as the Iranian embassy siege in 1980, are captured in this startling documentary.

1996 • History

No Surrender!

Japanese Soldiers Who Refused to Believe World War II was Over A number of Japanese soldiers in the Pacific did not heed the news in August 1945 that their country had surrendered. They continued to wage guerrilla war both in the belief that their country was fighting on and for their own survival. One on the island of Guam in the Marianas did not surrender until 1960 and the last, Hiru Onada, endured a further ten years before giving himself up to the Philippine authorities. August 1945. The Japanese Empire's four million troops surrender to Allied forces. But many Japanese soldiers--stranded deep in the jungles of the Pacific islands--fought on single-handedly. And their imagined enemies--mainly island residents or peace-keeping forces--swarmed in their gunsights. Not even leaflets, endless pleas by radio, nor friends and family could budge these warriors from as much as thirty years of jungle warfare. Some Japanese soldiers in the Pacific refused to believe Japan would commit the shame of surrender and thought that the news of Japan's capitulation in August 1945 was an American trick. They continued to wage a guerrilla war for a further twenty five years until the Emperor's last, loyal soldier surrendered in 1970. The soldier's loyalty etched their names forever on the hearts of their countrymen.

1996 • History

Against the Odds

Great Air Escapes Some of the remarkable escapes which people have had from air disasters including the tail gunner who fell 12,000 feet without a parachute and survived. More than half the passengers in plane crashes escape with their lives... but how? Flying in a plane is not only the fastest way to get to a destination, it's also the safest. Despite this fact, engine issues, bad weather, and even pilot errors can occur and lead to a plane crash. But even when these rarities occur, there are often survivors who make it off the plane alive.The greatest escapes from disasters in the air are truly breathtaking. These stories of plane crash survivors are proof that even when the odds are against people, they can still find a way to make it out of unimaginable circumstances. Chances are very high that most of us will never have to experience a plane crash, but there are plenty of people who have and have lived to tell the tale. From the Hindenburg airship disaster to the tail gunner who fell 12,000 feet without parachute and survived, these remarkable tales of survival are a testament to the fact that surviving an air disaster is against all odds.

1996 • History

France's Yankee Fliers

The Story of the Escadrille Lafayette Well before their country entered the Great War a number of adventurous Americans volunteered to fight for the British and French. Among them were a number of pilots, and in early 1916 they were formed into a special French fighter squadron, which fought with great distinction on the Western Front. Amazing aerial footage shows WW1 dog-fights as they really were. If the Wright brothers' 1903 flights in Kitty Hawk marked the birth of aviation, World War I can be called its violent adolescence—a brief but bloody era that completely changed the way planes were designed, fabricated, and flown. France's Yankee Fliers tells the story of the men who were at the forefront of that revolution: the daredevil Americans of the Lafayette Escadrille, who flew in French planes, wore French uniforms, and showed the world an American brand of heroism before the United States entered the Great War.

1996 • History

Amazon Adventures

Exploring the World's Longest River In the tradition of 'Indiana Jones' the true story of Man's efforts to reach the source of the world's mightiest river including the mystery of the disappearance of Colonel Fawcett in 1923. The Amazon basin is a marvel of the world and the imagination, an ecosystem of unrivaled size and diversity, and a place of near mythical status among travelers. The Amazon River has more water than the next eight largest rivers combined, and is twice the area of India, and the basin spans eight countries. The Amazon is the world's mightiest river and the second longest at 6.280 kilometres. The river was first discovered when a captain noticed that his ship, which was out to sea, was actually sailing in fresh water and that this must be the outflow of river. Since then many explorers have tried to discover the source of this great river. One of them, Colonel Fawcett, mysteriously disappeared in 1923 whilst tracking up the Amazon.

1996 • History

Spies in the Sky

The Story of Aerial Photographic Reconnaissance The fascinating story with newly released footage on how flying high and fast, and often unarmed, aircraft brought back valuable intelligence on the enemy in both war and peace. Sometimes they did not return. We have come a long way since the first few silk-suited aerostiers of the French revolution ascended in tethered balloons to scan the battlefield through wobbly telescopes. In just 230 years, humanity has progressed from its first faltering flights to the capability to photograph from space an object the size of a grapefruit - a testament both to technological progress and our need to keep a close eye on the world around us. From the days of artillery-spotting balloons the extensive use of aerial reconnaissance began in the Great War and has continued throughout wartime and peacetime. Newly released footage shows the dangers that these planes faced flying high and fast in enemy territory. Many of these reconnaissance planes were unarmed with only their wits to guide them safely back home. Some however never returned.

1996 • History

Towering Infernos

Exploits of Firefighters Some of the world's most dramatic fires and how they have been fought, with live action footage of daring rescues and escapes. Spectacular, out-of-control blazes create unique problems for firefighters. During World War II, in Hamburg, bomb-triggered fires of unprecedented scale created heat so intense it sucked in hysterical bystanders. A 25-story Brazilian office complex belched thick, toxic smoke, trapping workers on balconies and windows. And the highrise MGM Grand Hotel, firefighters staged a daring helicopter rescue for frantic guests breaking out windows on the upper floors. No matter how great the danger, firefighters battle on until the last ember is doused... then prepare for the next inferno. The Towering Inferno was one of Hollywood's blockbuster disaster films. But the reality of a major fire that is out of control is a more frightening spectacle than any film can portray. Using live footage of the major fire disaters of the twentieth century, this episode shows how these towering infernos have been fought and the bravery that has led to daring rescues and unbelievable escapes.

1996 • History

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