Special to SEGAZINE
A camera assistant was killed in Wayne County Thursday afternoon when a freight train struck and killed her on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider,” sources confirm to Variety.
Four other people were injured in the accident, one seriously. The event happened in Wayne County, Ga.
An eyewitness told Variety the movie crew was filming a dream sequence on a railroad trestle when a train unexpectedly crossed the bridge.
The crew, including director Randall Miller, had placed a bed on the tracks for the scene and was expecting two trains on the local bridge, one in each direction, when a third train arrived unexpectedly.
A whistle warned the crew members of the next train, giving them less than a minute, which was too late.
Miller, who also directed the 2008 film “Bottle Shock,” and the still photographer rushed to get the bed off the tracks while the rest of the crew tried to get off the bridge on a plank walk-way. They were still trying to get off the bridge when the train arrived.The second camera assistant was then struck and killed by the train.
Miller had fallen onto the tracks before the train arrived but the still photographer pulled him off, according to the witness, saving his life. The bed was then hit by the train and exploded. That debris hit and injured several people, including one seriously, who was airlifted to Savannah’s Memorial Health University Medical Center.
A costume designer also suffered injuries during the accident and was admitted to the hospital while at least two other people from the crew, none seriously injured, were awaiting treatment in the emergency room at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup, Ga.
Sheriff John Carter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said that his office received three separate 911 calls reporting the accident at 4:37 p.m. on Thursday. He said the freight train was operated by CSX Corp and that the rail line forms a single track as it crosses the river at that point in the trestle bridge where the incident occurred.
CSX issued a statement on the accident. “CSX is deeply saddened by a tragedy that occurred late today on a CSX rail bridge in Doctortown, Ga., and is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally. CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured. A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred.”
Starring William Hurt and Tyson Ritter as Allman, “Midnight Rider” is set to be released by Open Road in the U.S.
Allman is also an executive producer on the film.
Update: A publicist for the production released a statement late on Thursday. “All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today. Our thoughts are prayers are with the family of our crew member.”