Too quiet on the set: Film accidents often go untold
Investigation finds deaths and serious injuries are being ‘swept under the rug’
The Associated Press determinedthat since 1990, at least 43 people have died on sets in the United States and more than 150 have been left with life-altering injuries.
But those figures don’t always tell the entire story. The AP found several instances in which major accidents did not appear in an Occupational Safety and Health Administration database of the most serious accidents.
The most glaring omission is the 1993 shooting death of actor Brandon Lee during filming of the movie The
despite North Carolina OSHA officials amassing a 1,500-page investigative file. An agency spokesman blamed a clerical error.
Internationally, at least 37 people have died in filming accidents since 2000, including a worker killed in Budapest on the set of the Blade Runner sequel.
Injuries to famous actors typically make headlines, but that’s not the case when most off-screen workers are hurt.
“I think it’s always been something that’s been swept under the rug,” said Stephen Farber, a journalist who chronicled the aftermath of the deadly 1982 Twilight Zone helicopter crash that killed actor Vic Morrow and two children.
The death of Lee, superstar Bruce Lee’s son, prompted changes on how firearms are treated on sets. Yet it also illustrates the paltry sums companies face after serious accidents.
OSHA fined The Crow producers $84,000, but later reduced the penalty to $55,000. The film grossed more than $50 million.
Some accidents, like the February 2014 death of assistant camera operator Sarah Jones, who was hit by a train while filming in Georgia, become catalysts for broader safety discussions.
Her parents have created a foundation in her honor and are planning a documentary about their daughter.
“She loved the industry,” her father Richard Jones said. “We don’t want to tear it down. We want to make it better and make it safer.”
have died on movie sets in the US since 1990 and more than 150 have suffered life-altering injuries, according to AP.