Unlike the popular opinion, stuntmen aren’t fearless daredevils looking for trouble. All stunts are carefully prepared, tested and secured. Most of the time there is medical staff on the scene, just in case anything goes wrong.
Thousands stunts are being performed without any accidents, but some are bound to happen, sadly. Here are 10 stuntmen who died while doing their jobs, performing stunts, whether it was a movie or a public stunt.
10) Sailendra Roy – Died While Travelling On A Zip Wire Using His Hair
Sailendra Nath Roy was a Guinness record holder for the longest distance travelled on a zip wire while using his pony tail to hold to it. He broke the record in 2011, when he travelled a whole 82.5 meters on a zip wire, holding onto his hair. A year later he pulled an entire locomotive for 2.5 meters, while it was attached to his pony tail.
In 2013, he attempted a public stunt to break his previous zip wire record. He attempted to cross a 180 meters wide river, while hundreds of people gathered to watch him. After getting around half way there, he got stuck, and couldn’t move further. The crowd was encouraging him to keep pushing, but he couldn’t do it.
Witnesses report that he just stopped moving, and was taken down 30 minutes later. Mr. Roy was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Cause of death was a fatal cardiac arrest.
9) Kun Liu – Died While Filming The Expendables 2 From An Explosion Gone Wrong
During the filming of the popular action movie sequel, The Expendables 2, there was a staged explosion that went wrong. Two stuntmen were on a rubber boat where the explosion took place. Kun Liu and Nuo Sun, both acting as stuntmen for Jet Li, were both caught in the blast. Kun Liu died from the explosion, and Nuo Sun was severely injured, and later saved by a 5-hour operation.
Parents of the stuntman who died have filed a lawsuit against Nu Image, Millennium Film and other individuals associated with the event.
The movie was released in 2012, and was dedicated to Kun Liu.
8) Matthew Crunch – Died Druing A Human Cannonbal Performance After Two Weeks On The Job
In 2011, during Scott May’s Daredevil Stunt Show, a newly hired stuntman, Matthew Crunch, died while performing his human cannonball bit. After he was launched from the cannon, the safety net that was supposed to break his fall collapsed. The cannon was very powerful, launching him at great speeds, and with nothing to break his fall, he died upon impact.
Eerily, the footage of the event exists, and is showing the audience count down “three…two…one….fire!”, as the performance was happening. The video also shows the net collapsing just before the stuntman landed, but is cut after that.
Police announced that there will be no criminal prosecution regarding the incident.
7) Chris Lamon – Died Filming Segal’s Exit Wounds From…Well, Exit Wounds
During the filming of Exit Wounds, starring Steven Segal and DMX and directed by Joel Silver (The Matrix, Lethal Weapon), a stuntman died while accidentally hitting his head on the pavement. Chris Lamon and another stuntman were supposed to roll out of a moving van safely, but Lamon “made an error with his footing”, and hit his head on the ground.
He died 6 days later, suffering a fractured skull. Lamon was a veteran stuntman who was in the business for 14 years before the tragic accident.
6) Collin Dragsbaek – Died After Falling On A Faulty Airbag
While filming the movie called Love Serenade, Colling Dragsbaek was performing a stunt scene on a grain silo. Unfortunately, an air bag that he was supposed to land on failed to open, and he died upon impact with the ground.
It is implicated that the fault is both his and supervising stunt coordinators’, who didn’t make sure that the air bag was up to safety standards. The scene was later reshot with a dummy falling from the silo.
5) Bennie Dobbins – Died After Filming A Fight With Schwarzenegger
Bennie Dobbins, stuntman and a director, died while filming Read Heat in 1998. The scene required Arnold Scwarzenegger and another actor to fight in deep snow, while close to naked. Dobins was installing fan heaters in the snow, to prevent actors from suffering hypothermia, but he suffered a heart attack while doing that.
He died when he was 50 years old, and Red Heat was dedicated to him.
4) Victor Magnotta – Drowned While Performing A Car Stunt
Victor “The Bear” Magnotta was one of the veteran stuntmen back in the 80’s. He was in the business for years, and did many dangerous scenes and performances. While filming The Squeeze he was supposed to drive a vehicle off a pier and into the Hudson river. He did exactly that, but his car was crushed by the impact, and he was pinned inside of it.
Divers and medical personnel who were on the scene couldn’t help him in time, and he drowned. 24 minutes after the jump, a tow truck pulled his car out of the water, and his body was finally removed. He was taken to a hospital, and was quickly pronounced dead.
3) Dar Robinson – Died After Driving His Motorcycle Off A Cliff
Dar Robinson was one of the most well-known stuntmen, having broke 19 world records and set 21 world “firsts”. Dar was interested in being a stuntman ever since he was a child, and he became one in 1937.
After that, he went on and had a 19-year long Hollywood career, that would end in 1986, while he was filming a stunt scene for the movie Million Dollar Mystery. Robinson completed the main stunt of the movie, and medical staff was dismissed afterwards. However, there was a routine high-speed run he went to film afterwards. He rode his motorcycle past the breaking point and over a cliff, to his death.
Three movies were dedicated to him after his death – Cyclone, Lethal Weapon and Million Dollar Mystery, all of which he worked on.
2) Joseph Svec – Died While Recreating An Parachute Accident
Joseph Leonard Svec was recreating Chuck Yeager’s escape from a Lockheed NF-104A, an aircraft used to train astronauts.
Chuck Yeager is an Air Force pilot, best known for being the first person to exceed the speed of sound in a level flight. He once had an accident where his helmet caught fire, and that was the event that Jospeh Svec tried to recreate.
He brought a smoke canister on him, so that he could recreate the fire, but it is believed that the smoke intoxicated him and rendered him unconscious. He didn’t open his parachute, which lead to his death.
1) Paolo Rigon – Died While Filming A James Bond Movie
While filming the twelfth James Bond movie, named For Your Eyes Only, an accident including four stuntmen happened. They were performing a high-speed bobsled chase, but their bobsled hit a tree at a high speed. Paolo Rigon, one of the stuntmen that was inside of it, died on the spot.
Mr. Rigon was not credited as a stuntmen, nor are there many reports of his death in the media.