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StuntmanFriday 09 August 2019

Stuntman suffers serious accident on Fast & Furious film set.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating after a stuntman suffered "serious" injuries while filming a Hollywood blockbuster in the UK. British stuntman Joe Watts, 31, is fighting for his life after the accident during the filming of Fast & Furious 9. Witnesses said a safety wire attached to Watts snapped as he leaped off a platform, causing him to plummet head-first more than 30 feet to the ground.

“He was meant to be left dangling below the balcony via wire and then slowly lowered to the ground, but he plunged to the ground and landed on his head,” an unidentified source involved with the film’s production revealed. Watts, who was working at Warner Brothers Leavesden Studio near London, had to be airlifted to the Royal London Hospital and has been placed in a drug-induced coma. Filming, which started in January 2019, was temporarily halted after the accident.

Watts has worked on a number of high-profile television shows and films including Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mission Impossible, Jurassic World, Mama Mia, and The Spanish Princess. He is listed as a probationary member of the British Stunt Register (BSR). The organization requires all members to be qualified in a minimum of six disciplines such as martial arts, horseback riding, or stunt driving.

“The kind of injury that Joe has sustained this week is incredibly rare given the number of stunt days per year, which must run into the thousands,” said BSR chair Jim Dowdall. “But it’s the one that goes wrong that everybody remembers.”

Stunt professionals are in high demand in the current climate of action-driven blockbuster films and TV series. Tired of unconvincing CGI and green-screen action, audiences are starting to want practical effects that are not simulated – that means humans doing spectacular stunts “for real”. However, as the volume and complexity of stunts has grown, so has the risk factor.

The demand for convincing stunts is also having an impact on actors. In May, shooting was suspended on the forthcoming 25th James Bond film after Daniel Craig injured his ankle. He slipped and fell while shooting a running scene in Jamaica and had to be flown to the US for minor surgery. In August 2017, Tom Cruise broke his ankle during a roof-jumping stunt in London for Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Production was halted for nine weeks, adding an estimated $80m to the film’s budget.

If you have suffered an injury because of the negligence of your employer, please contact Swindon Accident Solicitors on 01793 425595 for a FREE, no obligation consultation on how to make a claim for compensation.

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