School bombing survivors participate in Utah film

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LAYTON, Utah (AP) — More than a dozen people who survived a 1986 Wyoming school bombing as children are re-enacting the incident at a Utah school for a local filmmaker's project.

Survivors of the Cokeville, Wyoming, school bombing say they're participating in the film not to mark a tragedy, but to mark a miracle: That no one but the attackers died that day.

Brad Nate of River Heights, Utah, said that he knew it would be difficult to relive the hours he spent as an 11-year-old hostage 28 years ago.

"This is an opportunity to perhaps share our story, and perhaps help others, even the other survivors," Nate told the Standard-Examiner (

He is among more than a dozen survivors participating in the project at Whitesides Elementary school in Layton. The adults and children are acting out scenes inside and outside the Layton school with fake ash and blood smeared on their faces.

The attack occurred nearly three decades ago when David Young, 43, and his wife, Doris Young, 47, held 154 children, teachers and visitors hostage for three hours in the small Wyoming town's only elementary school.

The couple, who demanded $300 million in ransom, accidentally detonated a homemade bomb. The man then killed his wife and himself.

While many of the hostages suffered injuries and burns from the explosion, they all survived.

Lori Conger, a 39-year-old survivor who now lives in Kaysville, told The Salt Lake Tribune ( that participating in the film helps her remember how lucky they were to survive.

"It's been a pretty surreal and extraordinary experience to relive this again," said Conger, who was in the fifth-grade at the time of the attack. "It's really caught me off guard a few times and choked me up, but it's been something I'll never forget. It's made me remember again how blessed we were."

Conger, whose role is that of a worried parent waiting outside the school, said she imagines what her mother went through.

"It wasn't hard for me to cry," she said about her acting.

Joshua Wiscombe, a 34-year-old from Layton who was a kindergartener at the Cokeville school, said he remembers feeling the blast of the bomb detonating.

"I just remember that loud, loud sound going off and then it was pitch black," Wiscombe told the Tribune. "The last thing I remember seeing was fire at my feet, and I remember thinking, 'I'll never see my mom again.'"

Some of the survivors' elementary-aged children are also participating as actors.

Kamaya Wixom, 12, is almost the same age her father Kamron Wixom was when he was held hostage.

"It's nice to be able to feel what he went through," the girl told the Tribune.

She portrays a child at the school while her father is playing a paramedic.

T.C. Christensen, a Utah filmmaker whose recent films feature Mormon themes, is behind the project and hopes to focus the film on the extraordinary elements of the day.

"There is a lot of bad that happens in the world, and a lot of people get hurt, but sometimes good things happen and there are people who are saved, and I think when that happens we have to tell these stories so people have hope," co-producer Ron Tanner told the Tribune.

Christensen hopes to release the film by the summer of 2015.

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