Disaster struck on the set of the the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider in Wayne County, Georgia, as a freight train unexpectedly arrived on the railroad bridge where the film's crew had been shooting a dream sequence.
Despite the train's warning whistle, which only gave the crew less than a minute to act, the locomotive resulted in seven injuries, and the tragic death of the film's 27-year old second camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones.
The crew, which had been filming a mattress on the tracks while on the bridge, was sent scrambling. They had planned for the arrival of two earlier trains, but the last one left them in complete surprise.
Director Randall Miller tried removing the mattress and tripped before the still photographer pulled him off the tracks, thus saving his life.
Meanwhile, the train was unable stop, struck the bed, which sent debris flying. One of the pieces of debris hit Sarah, and she fell onto the tracks, was struck by the train, and killed.
The railroad track's operator, CSX, issued this statement in response:
“CSX is deeply saddened by a tragedy that occurred late today on a CSX rail bridge in Doctortown, Ga., and is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally. CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured. A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred.”
Authorities say that although the film crew had permission to be near the tracks, they did not have permission to be on them.
Our hearts go out to Sarah's loved ones during this incredibly tough time.
Tags: biopic, film flickers, gregg allman, injured, kill, midnight rider, r.i.p., railroad, sad sad, seven, struck, train