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John Travolta's near-death experience story with family is even more poignant – here's why

The Grease star has long been a fan of flying and has a private airport in his Ocala home!

John Travolta speaks onstage during the premiere of Quiver Distribution's "The Fanatic" on August 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad SanwariSenior WriterNew York
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John Travolta got candid about nearly experiencing the sinking feeling of death while flying a corporate jet back in 1992 at a screening for his upcoming movie.

The actor, 69, attended a Disney+ screening of the film The Shepherd and, according to the BBC, told journalists after the movie about how the plot resonated with him.

The film, set in 1957 and based on the 1957 Frederick Forsyth novel of the same name, tells the story of a young pilot who experiences radio and electrical failure while piloting his plane and how fate intervened and saved him.

John Travolta's Florida home is also an airport

John told the audience about suffering a similar incident back in 1992 when the corporate jet he was flying experienced total electrical failure with his family on board. 

"The kismet of the project is, I actually experienced a total electrical failure, not in a Vampire but a corporate jet, over Washington DC, prior to my discovering the book," he recalled.

"So when I read the book, it resonated more because of this experience I'd personally had. I knew what it felt like to absolutely think you're going to die. Because I had two good jet engines but I had no instruments, no electric, nothing."

John Travolta attends a screening of Disney + Original Short Film "The Shepherd" at W London on November 23, 2023 in London, England.© Getty Images
John attended a screening of his new movie "The Shepherd"

He remembered the feeling of believing that he was going to die, adding: ""And I thought it was over, just like this boy, portrayed so beautifully [by lead actor Ben Radcliffe]. He captured that despair when you think you're actually going to die."

"I had my family on board and I said, 'This is it, I can't believe I'm going to die in this plane.'"

SEE: John Travolta shares peek inside jaw-dropping $10m home alongside newest family member

However, things took a turn for the better and everyone came out of the situation completely safe and sound. "As if by a miracle, we descended to a lower altitude, I saw the Washington DC Monument and identified that Washington National Airport was right next to it and I made a landing just like [ Freddie] does in the film."

John Travolta and Frederick Forsyth attend a screening of Disney + Original Short Film "The Shepherd" at W London on November 23, 2023 in London, England.© Getty Images
The movie is based on the 1975 novel by Frederick Forsyth (pictured)

What made the reveal more poignant for the Saturday Night Fever star was that he happened to share the story the very same day his youngest son, Benjamin, turned 13, putting his survival in a whole new perspective.

MORE: John Travolta's daughter Ella resembles mom Kelly Preston as family marks bittersweet day

John shared the sweetest tribute to Ben the same day on Instagram, writing: "I can't believe my baby boy is now a teenager. Ben turns 13 today. I love you my son!"

View post on Instagram

John also told the group that he had bought the rights to the book just two years after the incident, intending to star in it himself. However, the move came right after he'd finished Pulp Fiction, and he was too busy to commit to the project.

MORE: John Travolta's daughter Ella Bleu shares mesmerizing new look into family jet-setting adventure – watch

"So after 10 years, I let it go and decided I was never going to get to do it," he remembered. However, when director English Iain Softley approached John about wanting to make the movie, the project was back on track.

John Travolta with his children Ella and Ben - with their pool in the background© Instagram
John is a dad to Benjamin and Ella Bleu

Along with being an executive producer, John plays an older character who comes to the lead pilot's aid in his time of crisis. The film will be released on Disney+ on December 1st.

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