A sign calling for better safety on movie sets during a vigil held to honor cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
Alec Baldwin: What To Know As Actor Fatally Shoots Cinematographer With Prop Gun Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Prior to the accidental discharge of a prop gun by actor Alec Baldwin which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Thursday, a series of safety concerns had already been plaguing the New Mexico film set of the movie "Rust." Sources who had direct knowledge of the situation said hours before the fatal accident, a gun had two misfires while in a closed cabin.

According to the Deadline, a person was holding a prop gun that was used days before in a scene also discharged by itself. “They just fired loud pops – a person was just holding it in their hands and it went off.”

Hours before the fatal shooting of Hutchins where the film’s director Joel Souza also sustained a gunshot wound, a wide range of complaints had been cited concerning safety. Several armorers were noted to have turned down the production gig who indicated budget concerns and the amount of firearms to be used.

Seven members of the film’s camera crew walked off their jobs with some handing in resignation letters. The production company allegedly tried calling the cops on those who walked out as they brought in four union personnel to replace them.

One camera crew was quoted from a Facebook page where he wrote: “We cited everything from lack of payment for three weeks, taking our hotels away despite asking for them in our deals, lack of Covid safety, and on top of that, poor gun safety! Poor on-set safety. period!”

Meanwhile, police investigations are still underway as Baldwin, the official armorer of the film, and all those who handled the prop guns were subjected to questioning by authorities. All were released and none have been held or arrested. Forensics are still working on the issues.

In an interview with New York Post, John C. Aston, who plays a minor role in the film said, “It’s basically, it’s a terrible shame, I wish precautions would’ve been taken so that it didn’t happen.” The 74-year-old actor believes many of his fellow cast members along with the production crew will be needing to speak with counselors after the tragic on-set mishap.

Such fatal accidents and injuries on film sets have long been a looming concern for production companies as it becomes part of the dangers that go with the job. Safety reforms have leveled-up in the industry’s approach in handling similar concerns after a good number of accidents have cost the lives of both crew and cast.

List of other notable accidents that shook Hollywood

In 1982, a helicopter crash killed actor Vic Morrow and two child actors on the set of “Twilight Zone: The Movie." The helicopter crashed after debris from staged explosions damaged the aircraft’s rotor. Brandon Lee, son of famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, died on the set while filming “The Crow”. He was shot in the abdomen when a makeshift bullet was mistakenly left loaded in a gun in the previous scene that was supposedly using blanks.

A camera operator of the movie "Midnight Rider" died in February 2014 while filming the Gregg Allman biopic in Georgia. Sarah Jones, 27, did not survive the accident as she was run over by a train. Other crew members were injured after they were hit by metal pieces from the train tracks. They also had no permission to be on the tracks and were not expecting a train that day.

Audio technician Bruce Dion was struck and killed by a bullet in 2014 while recording a police shootout for reality TV series “COPS." US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommended additional safety instructional training for the show’s crew citing they needed to learn how to capture action-packed stories from a safe distance.

In 2013, three people from a crew filming a reality TV series for Discovery Channel were killed in a helicopter crash. The aircraft pilot, who was among the fatalities, was not wearing night vision goggles at the time as the crew was filming on a moonless night. The National Transport Safety Board faulted the pilot for flying in unsafe conditions while federal investigators determined it was the light used to illuminate an actor’s face in the cockpit that obstructed the pilot’s vision.

Actor Sarah Wilkinson lights a candle around a photo of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
Actor Sarah Wilkinson lights a candle that was placed around a photo of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil held to honor her at Albuquerque Civic Plaza on October 23, 2021 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hutchins was killed on set while filming the movie "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 21, 2021. The film's star and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm that hit Hutchins and director Joel Souza. Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

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