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Discovery to honor Louis Zamperini with special 'Adrift' airing

Discovery to honor Louis Zamperini with special 'Adrift' airing
Louis Zamperini, then an Army Air Corps bombardier in World War II, looks out from the hatch of bomber in January 1943. (Jack Rice / Associated Press)

Louis Zamperini, the Olympic track star and World War II hero, died Wednesday at age 97. To honor Zamperini, whose experiences in the Pacific during the war became the basis of the Angelina Jolie film "Unbroken," Discovery is re-airing its documentary, "Adrift: 47 Days With Sharks" on July 6 at 4 p.m. PT.

Zamperini was a lieutenant on a B-24 Liberator that went down in the Pacific in 1943. He and two other crew members survived the crash and drifted on a life raft for 47 days, fighting off sharks and starvation before being picked up by a Japanese patrol boat. One crew member died at sea, but Zamperini and the other surviving crewman were kept as POWs, tortured and beaten for two more years.

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The U.S. government declared him dead in 1944, but he was finally released at the end of the war.

In 2010, author Laura Hillenbrand chronicled Zamperini's experiences in the nonfiction book "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption." That book became the basis for Jolie's upcoming film.

"Adrift" first aired on Discovery in 2012, on the 25th anniversary of Shark Week.

In a statement, a Discovery spokesman said, "It is our hope that this re-airing will serve as memorable tribute to an incredible man."

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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