‘Deadpool 2’ stunt driver dies after crash on set

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VANCOUVER – A stunt woman has died following a motorcycle accident on the set of Deadpool 2 in downtown Vancouver.

The accident occurred just after 8 a.m. on Monday.

Witnesses say the woman was filming a stunt when she lost control of her bike, jumped a curb and crashed into Shaw Tower across from Canada Place.

She was treated by ambulance personnel but police say she died at the scene.

Her name has not been released.

Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds expressed his condolences to his crew member’s family and friends.

Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds expressed his condolences for the death of his crew member.

“We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated… but recognize nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment,” wrote Reynolds on social media. “My heart pours out to them….”

Deadline.com reports that the stunt driver, who was not wearing a helmet, was a motocross rider who was doing her first film as a stunt performer.

“We are deeply saddened by the accident that occurred on the set of Deadpool 2this morning,” 20th Century Fox spokesman told Deadline. “Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of our crew member during this difficult time.”

A motorcycle remains on the ground in front of a shattered-out glass window at the back of Shaw Tower. Vancouver police have taped off the area.

WorkSafeBC says they have five officers investigating.

Two officers are investigating to see if there are any immediate health or safety concerns, while three other officers are investigating the cause of the fatality and future prevention, said WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Trish Knight Chernecki.

Findings on any immediate health or safety concerns could be available within several days, while the investigation on the cause usually takes longer, said Chernecki.

Sharmina Kermalli said she had just walked into a Starbucks next door to where the accident happened when she heard a loud crash.

She ran out of the coffee shop and saw a woman lying with her body inside and her head outside the building.

Glass was still falling on the woman, Kermalli said.

“I was thinking, what if I was just five seconds (later),” she said, explaining that she had just walked by the spot where the crash happened.

Allan Webber was among those who came to the accident scene to watch as investigators assessed the scene then uprighted the stunt bike with its crumpled front tire.

“It’s like a cursed corner,” Webber said of the area, noting that just the day before the crash, one man died and two were injured in a bus accident down the street, and in 2013, actor Cory Monteith died in a neighbouring hotel.

Webber said he had previously watched the stuntwoman successfully complete a ride down Thurlow Street.

Nathan Kramchynski works on the seventh floor of the Shaw Tower and said he had been watching rehearsals of the stunt at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The stunt woman had been riding the motorcycle down a set of stairs from the convention centre and stopped when she reached the street, he said.

When the accident happened, the driver appeared to pick up speed, crossed the street and swerved to avoid pedestrians before disappearing from his view, said Kramchynski.

“She lost control really quickly. It happened in a split second,” he said. “She was going full throttle and then there’s a building there.”

He said a fire truck and police cars arrived “instantly.”

“The response was actually incredible,” he said.

The ambulance remained at the scene for about 15 or 20 minutes before leaving, he added.

According to Global News, whose TV crew witnessed the accident, the rider successfully completed the stunt four times but on the fifth try she encountered trouble with the throttle and lost control of the bike.

Deadpool 2, the sequel to the 2016 Marvel Comics blockbuster from 20th Century Fox starring Vancouver actor Ryan Reynolds, has been shooting in Vancouver since June 26. The film crew closed down downtown streets last week to film sequences involving motorcycles and scooters.

Domino, a female character played by actress Zazie Beetz, was spotted riding a black Ducati motorcycle down Hastings Street. It was the same model of motorcycle involved in Monday’s accident.

Jason Cameron, a business agent with the Union of B.C. Performers said it’s not known if the stunt woman was one of their members.

The UBCP represents 6,000 people who work as actors, stunt performers, singers, and voice actors.

“We’re waiting for more information to come in. We would have had members on set,” said Cameron.

He said a union representative headed out to the set after hearing news of the accident. Trauma counselling will be available, he said.

Cameron said despite today’s tragic accident, performing stunts is very safe.

“The nature of stunt performing is it is very dangerous but we are also talking about skilled and trained stunt performers who perform these very dangerous stunts in a safe way,” he said.

“These very complicated sequences and stunts happen on film sets all the time. (Accidents are) pretty rare considering how often stunts like this are performed. It’s exceedingly rare which is a test to the skill level.”

Cameron said Deadpool 2 is a “stunt-heavy” production.

It’s not the first tragedy to hit the B.C. film industry.

In 1998, local stuntman Marc Akerstream was killed when he was struck in the head by a piece of flying debris while observing an explosion on the Squamish set of the TV show The Crow: Stairway to Heaven.

Two years earlier in Squamish, 32-year-old Vancouver stuntman Keith Perepelkin died on the set of the movie Firestorm, after his parachute failed to open during a jump from a helicopter.

Last month in Atlanta, stuntman John Bernecker died on the set of The Walking Dead after he fell head-first onto concrete instead of on padding meant to cushion his roughly 7-metre fall from a balcony. His death was believed to be the first stunt-related fatality on U.S. soil in 20 years.

Meanwhile, in May of 2016, Hollywood actor Dylan O’Brien suffered a concussion and multiple facial fractures after a stunt went wrong on the set of Maze Runner: The Death Cure in Cache Creek.

WorkSafeBC put the blame for O’Brien’s injuries squarely on 20th Century Fox, saying the production company “failed” to ensure the safety of workers on the Maze Runner set.

Monday’s crash occurred just metres away from the site of Sunday’s fatal bus accident. A charter tour bus loaded with passengers hit three people — killing one and injuring two others — on Canada Place Way, between the Convention Centre and Canada Place.

Deadpool 2 is scheduled to be released in theatres on June 1, 2018.

With files from Gord Hoekstra, Matt Robinson, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

sbrown@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/Browniescott


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