Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ shooting accident: A lookback at Hollywood’s biggest on-set tragedies


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Cinematographer Helena Hutchins was fatally shot with a prop gun on the set of the western ‘Rust’ on Thursday.

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The shooting death of cinematographer Helena Hutchins on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” is a reminder of what can go wrong on set.

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s officials said director Joel Souza, 42, was shot Thursday on the set of a pastoral film set in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe. Officials confirmed that a prop firearm fired by Baldwin, 63, killed Hutchins and injured Souza, 48.


The sheriff’s department said Hutchins was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Souza was taken by ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center and has since been released. Production on the film was halted.

Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shoot: Actor’s wife Hilaria breaks silence: Live updates

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As officials investigate the tragedy, industry leaders will look for ways to avoid similar tragedies.

On-set fatalities have led to security improvements in the past. Here are some of the most devastating accidents of the past few years.

“Twilight Zone: The Movie”

In 1982, actor Vic Morrow and two child actors, Renee Shin Chen and Myka Dinh Le, were killed while filming a scene set in Vietnam for a film based on the hit TV series, “Twilight Zone”. The helicopter came down after debris from the explosions during the scene rose 100 feet into the air and damaged the plane’s rotor.

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In a rare case of prosecutors targeting film productions for on-set deaths, director John Landis and four others were acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges. The child actors’ families settled civil lawsuits years later, and federal agencies enacted new rules for filming with helicopters.

“cover up”

In 1984, actor John-Eric Hexum was killed on the set of his TV series “Cover Up” after he accidentally shot himself in the head with a gun filled with empty space. His mother, Greta Hexum, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Superior Court against Twentieth Century Granthshala Television and Glenn Larson Productions. In the suit, the matriarch said that Starr should have been warned about the dangers of empty cartridges. A few years later, Greta settled an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.

John-Eric Hexum died on 18 October 1984.  He was 26 years old.


In 1993, actor Brandon Lee died after being shot in the stomach while filming a scene for “The Crow.” The gun was believed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy revealed a bullet near his spine.

Money and safety issues had already affected production, including a serious burn by a construction worker. A temporary bullet was accidentally dropped into a gun from the previous scene and Lee was killed during a scene that called for the use of blank rounds.

OSHA fined the production $84,000 for violations found after Lee’s death, but the fine was later reduced to $55,000. ‘The Crow’ grossed over $50 million. Before the “Rust” tragedy, Lee’s death was the last recorded accidental death by a prop gun on a film set.

Brandon Lee’s family reacts to Alec Baldwin’s prop gun shooting accident

Actor Brandon Lee, son of the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, died on March 31, 1993.  He was 28 years old.

“Untitled Military Project”

In 2013, an early morning helicopter crash in a remote river valley north of Los Angeles killed three people filming a planned reality TV series for the Discovery Channel. Filming took place on a moonlit night, and the pilot was not wearing night-vision goggles at the time of the accident.

Federal investigators later determined that the lights used to illuminate an actor’s face in the cockpit hindered the pilot’s ability to fly. However, the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the pilot for flying in unsafe conditions, who was one of those killed. The agency later rescinded its determination that a Federal Aviation Administration inspector failed to recognize the risks involved in approving plans for the shooting.

“Midnight Rider”

In 2014, camera operator Sarah Jones was crushed by a train during the filming of the Greg Allman biopic in rural Georgia. The death of 27-year-old Jones, and injuries to other crew members who were hit by pieces of metal bed frames on train tracks as part of the production, focused the industry’s attention on film set safety.

John-Eric Hexum’s ‘Cover Up’ co-star Jennifer O’Neill remembers late actor: ‘Gun protection is essential’

Parents Richard and Elizabeth Jones attend a memorial for their daughter Sarah Jones, an assistant camerawoman killed by a train during the shooting of the Greg Allman biopic film, 'Midnight Rider' on March 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California Huh.  The 27-year-old Camerawoman's Remembrance is organized by members of the International Cinematographers Guild and the production community, who seek to highlight the importance of safety on a production schedule or budget.  The accident occurred on February 20 on a train trestle over the Altamaha River in Georgia and injured seven other crew members.

The crew filming “Midnight Rider” were not allowed to be on the tracks. He didn’t even expect the train while filming the bed scene. As a result, prosecutors filed criminal charges against the film’s director, who pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. He was sentenced to two years in prison but was released a year later and fined $74,900 by OSHA. Jones’ parents created a foundation dedicated to improving safety on film and television shoots.


In 2014, an audio technician recording a police shootout for the long-running TV reality series “Police” was struck and killed in Omaha, Nebraska. The death of Boston native Bryce Dion prompted the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration to recommend additional training and safety instruction for the show’s crew members, including how to shoot film remotely. OSHA also recommended removing bonus incentives that encourage workers to take risks to capture more action-packed stories.

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