Tragically, ‘Walking Dead’ Stuntman john Bernecker falls to his death after missing his targeted landing pad that was to protect him from such a fatal accident. This incident begs the question, are some scenes just not worth the risk? As stunt professionals, is it a matter of sacrifice to make the scene work that leads to such tragedies, or something more disturbing. Perhaps the lack of sufficient oversight to protect these brave men and women placing themselves in harms way for the ultimate shot.
One may certainly argue, this is what Stunt Professionals signed up for. They are aware of the risk, and dangers involved. While that may be true, as professional risk seekers, they may know their limit to a certain extent, but then rely on the expertise and safety measures of the production to ensure every precaution has be weighed to identify additional emerging risk, beyond the qualifications of the Stunt Professional. If this is not the current climate, perhaps it should be. Standard or enhanced guidelines, much like OSHA, may serve to protect both parties best interest, the Stunt Professional, and the production company. Perhaps offering a greater peace of mind to the families of individuals of such a profession.
According to an MSN Article, Bernecker missed the intended protection landing pad by “just inches,” second assistant director Matthew Goodwin told a sheriff’s deputy, leading to a 911 call. Accidents will happen, but no one should ever die on a Movie or Television production set. Hopefully this tragedy will promote more aggressive safety procedures, or compliance policies with additional protections for Stunt Professionals, that prevent tragedies such as this moving forward.
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Image Source: OneNewsPage.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk