It was 18 years ago today that the Andrea Gail encountered what was to become 'The Perfect Storm' while in the Atlantic Ocean. Tonight, The Weather Channel launches it's new Friday night programming lineup that includes feature-length movies. It kicks off with 'The Perfect Storm' appropriately enough. If you've never read the book by Sebastian Junger, I highly recommend it.
As it happens, the story of the Andrea Gail and it's crew and rescuers would become important to me some 9 years later. In 2000, I worked with The Weather Channel when they interviewed the real-life survivors and rescuers from that fateful event. Traveling with Weather Channel producer Simon Temperon (now my staff producer), we interviewed the four surviving Air National Guard helicopter crewmen and the Captain and First Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa, which rescued the crew from the raging waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Pictured above in Gloucester, MA is Michael Forrester, Air National Guard Lt. Col. Graham Buschor, Coast Guard Tamaroa Captain Lawrence Brudnicki and Lieutenant Commander Kristopher Furtney. The Tamaroa crew rescued Buschor and four other crew members from their downed H-60 helicopter. We also interviewed the other surviving crew members from the helicopter including Maj. David Ruvola, SSft. Jimmy Mioli and TSgt. John Spillane.
Later in 2000, I returned to Gloucester for the Media Day event prior to the premiere of the movie 'The Perfect Storm.' During that visit, I was able to meet and interview author Sebastian Junger and movie director Wolfgang Peterson. Below, we pose in front of the Lady Grace, which played the part of the Andrea Gail in the movie.
During the media event, I was also lucky enough to meet George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg along with other cast and crew. It was quite a memorable event and hearing the stories of those involved first hand was fascinating.