WACO, Texas – A new documentary about the tragic 1999 Texas A&M bonfire collapse is coming to select Premiere Cinemas theaters, including Waco and Temple, starting Friday.
The documentary revolves around the events of November 18, 1999, when 12 Texas A&M students were killed and 27 were injured while constructing the school’s annual bonfire before their game with the Texas Longhorns.
The man who many thought would be the thirteenth victim of the tragedy is the focus of the film.
John Comstock was on the fourth tier of the bonfire structure when it collapsed. He was stuck in the mass of logs for over seven hours before he was rescued.
“And I’m hoping my story is one of inspiration for people and through my perseverance and hard work I’ve been able to come back from this tragedy,” Comstock says.
It almost was not a happy ending for Comstock. After being rescued from the wreckage, he did not awake from a coma until January. Also, half of his leg was amputated, resigning him to a wheelchair.
At one point, his condition was so bad that Texas A&M had already printed off a news release revealing him as the thirteenth victim of the tragedy. Out of that came Comstock’s moniker around College Station and the title for the film, “The 13th Man.”
“I think a lot of people like to hear true stories and documentaries to learn about what goes on in the state of Texas,” Waco Premiere Cinemas theater director Annette Wintters says. “I hope they get a lot of support for it.”
For Comstock, it is important to combine his story with paying tribute to the 12 who lost their lives.
“We wanted to do something that would honor the twelve and remind the current Aggies and non alike that this was a big event and this was very important,” Comstock says.
Now, nearly two decades after the tragedy that almost claimed his life, Comstock remains loyal to his alma mater.
“I graduated and I work for A&M,” Comstock said. “I’m still an Aggie.”
For showing times and locations, follow “The 13th Man” website.