Oz biz under fire after two stuntmen die

Coroner called for safety review

SYDNEY — The Oz film and TV industry is reeling after Victorian State Coroner Graeme Johnstone found producer Jan Chapman and helmer Shirley Barrett partly responsible for the death of a professional stuntman during the filming of Barrett’s “Love Serenade.”

Investigative report

Following an extensive investigation into the deaths of stuntmen Collin Dragsbaek and Trevor Welsh in separate but similar incidents involving defective airbags in 1995 and 1996, Johnstone delivered a scathing indictment of Oz industry practices, calling for a wide-ranging safety review. He also suggested more stunts should be executed with the aid of harnesses and digital imaging.

In delivering his findings, Johnstone said Chapman (“The Piano”) and Barrett did not ensure adequate safety standards resulting in Dragsbaek’s death from a fall onto a defective Paradynamics airbag. Also implicated in both accidents were the supervising stunt coordinators as well as the stuntmen themselves (through professional error).

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