this is "nightline." >> tonight, the lost tapes. two amateur adventurers learn to climb the highest peaks in order to solve a 31-year-old mystery. >> we haven't done anything near what real mountaineers would call mountaineering. >> a mission taking them to the wreckage of a plane crash that killed 29. their amazing discovery and the shock twist. plus, patriots day. mark wahlberg's new movie hits close to home. >> to see those faces on that tree. i spent a lot of years walking up and down all of these streets. >> his journey back to the finish line of the boston marathon. inside the search for the bombers. and two survivors share their dramatic stories. >> she didn't know she was on fire. and baby, it's cold outside.
tonight we bring you an extraordinary adventure courtesy of two young men who read on the internet about a mysterious plane crash from more than three decades ago and decided to try and solve it. here's abc's david kerley. >> reporter: on this remote bolivian peak -- >> that's where we're getting to. >> reporter: -- two american adventurers -- >> say what up. >> reporter: -- with no mountaineering experience -- >> this is worse. this is much worse. >> reporter: -- are hoping to solve a more than 30-year-old mystery. >> to me that looks impassable. >> physically really, really demanding. >> reporter: and wait until you hear how they got here. we went to boston to meet dan futrell and isaac stoner, who guys who one day searching the internet found this wick piedia page, a page revealing that just 19 aircraft black boxes worldwide are unaccounted for, including one on bolivia's 21,000-foot mount illimani.
never recovered, it said, because of inaccessible terrain. >> so you find this by googling and decide what? we can go find this black box that nobody's found for decades? >> well, dan had to talk me into it, which took a little while. like come on, people have been to the moon, people have been to the top of everest, what does inaccessible mean? and with a couple of google maps and a few videos we thought we can do it. >> trying to reach that eastern airlines jet which crashed into the side of a mountain outside la paz. >> a boeing 727 with 29 on board including eight americans slammed into mt. illimani new year's day 1985. >> the full-scale investigation by inspectors from the national transportation safety board is now under way. >> reporter: but the crash site, so remote and at 19,000 feet above sea level so high that those investigators couldn't get to the site. tom howder, who had just joined the ntsb, says a team was sent back -- >> they got to the accident
site, but by then the area was covered in like 30, 40 feet of snow. so they found a few parts but nothing definitive. certainly they didn't find the recorders at that time. and essentially, the investigation came to a halt. >> reporter: leaving a mystery. was it a navigational error or something more sinister? there are plenty of conspiracy theories. >> it was known that drugs and things were found on air flights. there was the wife of the ambassador to paraguay on board. what really happened here? the only way to know is to get to that tape. >> reporter: so flight 980 was added to the list of those handful of crashes around the world where the black boxes were never recovered. for the relatives of those lost on board a fact that was hard to bear. >> my dad, mark lewis berg, he was the flight engineer on eastern airlines flight 980. >> stacy greer was just 3 years old when her dad didn't return from the south american flight. >> my mom never really talked about it. i just always knew that i was
missing my dad. >> did you ask yourself through the years, i wonder what really happened to my dad? >> yeah. yeah. >> reporter: which brings us back to those two american adventurers from boston. >> how do we stay alive? we can either find the black box or not. >> he's got my back. >> reporter: who were looking for their next challenge. >> are you guys both mountaineers? >> no. not even close. we haven't done anything near what real mountaineers would call mountaineering. >> reporter: to prepare they rented an altitude tent, sleeping in it for a month to acclimatize. they ran stairs at harvard's stadium. and went to an outdoor store to buy some climbing gear. >> was it the sense of the adventure? was it the mystery that appealed to you? >> i think a little bit of both. maybe we could succeed where all these other expeditions not managed to. >> second wind. pete? remarkably composed. second wind. >> reporter: with just three hours of training from their guide -- >> around the corner there and
we just can't do it. >> reporter: -- they headed up the mountain. >> drop packs. this is a good place. >> reporter: and then found what they were looking for. >> we immediately found pieces of the plane. >> and that's the first time where it was kind of real. >> reporter: but over all those years the wreckage had slid down the mountain and spread out a lot. >> the debris field was much, much larger than we had anticipated. >> reporter: they are now looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, the black boxes in a massive rock field. >> it did seem like the goal of finding the flight recorders might be completely impossible. >> found this thing. which is the right color but cracked open like an egg. >> piece of orange metal. i flipped it over and it was very clearly international orange. >> but it's really bent up. i expected the black box to be intact, and i also found some magnetic tape. >> promising. but not until the last day of their trek at 16,000 feet, the
sun going down, does isaac finally make the discovery that they had flown to bolivia and climbed this mountain to find. >> and so i just flipped over a piece that i hadn't flipped over before, and it had a little wrap on this bundle of wires that said ckptvorcdr. we were standing there on this beautiful mountainside holding this thing that we'd come a long way to find, that people had claimed to be stolen or hidden, and there it was. there it was. >> they came back down and called me and told me what they had found. time just froze. >> reporter: mystery solved, right? hand over the tape to the ntsb and see what's learned? wrong. bolivian and u.s. relations are strained and the bolivians, even after all these years, are in charge of the investigation. e-mails from boston and certified letters from abc news sent to the bolivian embassy went unanswered. a standoff while the box and possible remnants of the recording tape are sitting on a
boston kitchen counter. >> wait a minute. this is like a cardboard box. >> basically, the black box is living in your apartment. >> yeah. what you see here are six different pieces. this one here is the piece that isaac -- the last piece that he found. >> it is this the eureka. this is when you think you know you've got it. >> this is krornt vo recorder. >> but inside a plastic froozer bag -- >> the good stuff is this -- >> this stuff right here. >> reporter: that is a partial spool of what appears to be magnetic tape. a possible recording. >> is it unusual that eyre able to go find a black box. it's unusual that now it's seemingly our task to convince the country of bolivia to cooperate with the country of the united states. >> reporter: just in the past two weeks, progress. the bolivians now saying they're willing to allow the ntsb to examine the tape. but who gets any information gleaned? that's not been determined. so the box sits. stacy greer got something she
wanted. a piece of the plane that her father died on, which she now wears around her neck. do you think you'll ever get an answer as to what happened to your dad? >> i hope. >> does it solve the mystery? maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. at least what we should be able to say is that we have a thing now that might have an answer, we need to be able to check the box that either yes or no it does or doesn't. >> reporter: a mystery sitting in a cardboard box on a kitsch encounter. for "nightline" in boston i'm david kerley. next, mark wahlberg taking us back to his hometown, site of the boston marathon bombing. dos on my car insurance with geico. i should take a closer look at geico... geico has a long history of great savings and great service. over seventy-five years. wait. seventy-five years? that is great. speaking of great, check out these hot riffs. you like smash mouth? uh, yeah i have an early day tomorrow so...
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♪ the story of the boston marathon bombing is one that mark wahlberg felt particularly compelled to tell. the tragic events of that day unfolded on the streets that mark grew up on. so in making his new movie "patriots day" he not only paid tribute to those caught in the explosion but to the resilience of the city he loves. >> for me it's -- i have so many memories here, you know, growing up. i mean, first 20-some-odd years of my life i spent a lot of time down here. >> reporter: for actor and proud native son mark wahlberg boston's famed marathon finish line is sacred ground. >> this moves you still. >> oh, absolutely. absolutely. to see those faces on that tree, you know, and just to be -- i mean, i have -- like i said, i spent a lot of years walking down -- up and down all of these streets. and i've known this as my home. >> reporter: home hollywood made
into a movie exploring the heartache and heroes of the 2013 boston marathon bombing. >> multiple explosions. we need help down here. >> reporter: in "patriots day" wahlberg plays fictional police sergeant tommy saunders, a composite character of the many men who rallied when history called. >> people from all walks of life ran toward the problem. and that made me extremely proud to be a bostonian. you know, we've always had great sports heroes to kind of put on a pedestal. but those people redefine the term hero for me. >> reporter: the film chronicles the bombings, the chaotic days following the attack. >> have a great race, everybody. >> reporter: in real life so much of the horror caught on camera. >> whoo! >> what the hell was that? >> reporter: a day none who were there will ever -- can ever forget. >> oh, my god. something blew up. >> reporter: in a matter of seconds -- [ explosion ] two bombs would claim three lives, leaving hundreds critically injured. confusing moments of terror, anguish. and among those in the crowd, heroes emerged.
>> how much of the movie was honoring the heroes of that day and how much of the movie was about healing that's still going on in boston? >> i think more about healing and hope and us all kind of standing up together and holding hands. you know, these things will continue to happen, and the only real way to respond is with love and unity. >> what this film is about is how the city of boston came together and the fact that love really does seem to rise to the surface when these horrible things happen. >> reporter: it's not the first time director peter berg and wahlberg have joined forces to bring a major headline to the big screen. blockbusters released even as emotions are still raw. >> any thought that this movie might be too soon? >> i was certainly on the fence about it. but then i realized that if it wasn't me it was going to be someone else. >> on the fence why? >> for that question. is it too soon? it's never going to be okay for certain people to have us re-enact the worst dave their lives. >> reporter: the goal instead would be to pay tribute to those
who rushed to help the injured. >> the movie is unapologetic in its praise of law enforcement. at a time in which law enforcement is scrutinized greatly in our country. >> we believe that law enforcement should be applauded for the way they handled themselves. it was an example of the very best of law enforcement. there are obviously other issues and people talk about some of the more -- the problems and some of those problems obviously should be looked at. but that doesn't mean we should be afraid to say thank you to these incredible men and women when they do something for us as selfless as what they did during those four days of the bombing. >> reporter: but among the acts of selflessness there was tension. >> we need to release those pictures. >> reporter: the film depicting the moment boston p.d. clashed with the fbi, bitterly debating whether or not to release these photos of the two terror suspects. >> right now boston's working against us. >> reporter: tension former commissioner ed davis, proper
traid by john goodman, says is as real on screen as it was in person. >> this is my [ muted ] city, rick! >> i couldn't imagine what would happen if we were in possession of these photographs and didn't release them to the public and then someone else got hurt. i made it clear that i was going to hold the federal government accountable for that decision. i thought it was really important to get the public involved. >> reporter: and for the men behind the film accurate details were critical. >> we tried to be very sensitive and we spent so much time with the victims and the survivors to make sure that we do everything we can to not traumatize them. >> reporter: survivors like newlyweds jessica kinsey and patrick downs, married just seven months before the bombing. >> this has been the best and absolute worst time in our life. but i think it really captures what this experience has been like. >> reporter: the pair avid runners. but on that day in 2013 they were there as spectators. >> it's incredibly emotional to be there and see it. and any part of the race but particularly on boyles-ton.
>> so it's a joyous day. >> absolutely. especially for the city. >> and unbeknownst to them just feet away from the first bomb. >> i had my arms on his shoulder and i was on my tippy toes. i know it was behind us because i really got the brunt of the bbs and ball bearings and shrapnel. and you know, i caught on fire. >> despite that jess still -- her nursing instincts kicked in. and when she realized how injured i was began using a purse strap to tie a tourniquet around my leg. it's an undescribable act of heroism. >> what's the vourks for better or worse? worse she was there. >> that's true. in sickness and health. and we thought that was going to come much further down the line in our lives. >> reporter: the recovery hasn't been easy, they say. jessica has since had her right leg amputated and there are more surgeries to come. the next one in january. any second guessing or guilt about if i hadn't said honey, let's go to the race that day in. >> you can't think about did we
go to the right spot, could we have gone at the right time. but then you realize that there are only two people in this world who have to ask questions about whether or not they did what they were supposed to be doing. one's dead, and one's in prison. >> reporter: the tsarnaev brothers' story also featured. disturbing reminders of how they once brought a city to a standstill. dzhokhar tsarnaev has been sentenced to death, currently being held in a federal fripris. for jessica and patrick their resilience stronger now than ever. >> telling your story is a big part of trauma therapy. and to have people sxcare and b interested in it is i think an honor a lot of trauma survivors don't receive. >> reporter: at its core "patriots day" is far less about loss. it's a tale of lessons learned and a heart-stirring reminder terror can never, has never defeated love. one day in april this was a crime scene. what is it now? >> well, it's always going to be a reminder of what happened.
you see people who have to move on with their lives. and people here showed such strength and resiliency, and to see them moving forward. this is such an amazing place. it reminds us of what real love and real heroes are about. and next -- ♪ i really can't stay ♪ baby i'm fine with that >> a new version of the holiday classic "baby, it's cold outside." reminding men to get consent, no matter how cold it is. ♪ i'm glad you had a real good time ♪ ♪ my mother will start to worry ♪ ♪ call her so she knows that you're okay ♪ ♪ and father will be participation the floor ♪ ♪ better get your car ♪ so really i better scurry ♪ take your time ♪ should i use the front or back door ♪ ♪ which one are you -- this holiday, get an amazing deal on america's most awarded brand, during the ford year end event. ford, the brand with the most 5-star ratings... the highest owner loyalty...
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sir ♪ ♪ mind if i move in closer ♪ at least i'm going to say that i tried ♪ ♪ what's the sense in hurting my pride ♪ ♪ i really can't stay ♪ ♪ baby it's cold outside >> covereded dozens of times. but times have changed. >> get out! don't look at me! get out! >> a new version telling women you really don't have to stay. lidia liza and josiah lamanski putting a modern spin on a classic. ♪ i really can't spin ♪ you don't have to >> penned in 1944, the couple felt some of the verses don't hold up. replacing lines like -- ♪ i ought to say no, no, no ♪ mind if i move in >> with -- ♪ i ought to say no, no, no ♪ you reserve the right to say no ♪ ♪ zbl reworking consent into the carol some say sounds coarse. >> we think in our generation the lyrics are just read completely differently than they were originally intended. ♪ my mother will start to worry ♪ ♪ call her so she knows that
you're ♪ >> while it might be cold outside, the reception has been anything but. the song reaching number one today on spotify's viral 50. a timeless holiday jingle for the modern age. ♪ bye ♪ bye ♪ drive safely, please >> a portion of the proceeds will benefit the sexual violence center and the national alliance to end sexual violence. thank you for watching abc news. and as always we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the