Safety on set must be paramount at all times.
Yesterday, on the set of the film Rust, a prop firearm was discharged by actor Alec Baldwin.
According to IATSE Local 44, there were live rounds in the chamber, and this led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The director, Joel Souza, was injured and taken to the hospital as well. He has since been released.
Police have not confirmed the claim that there was a live round in the gun.
The sheriff's office is still putting together the details, but reports say this happened while the scene was being rehearsed or filmed.
Prop Gun Fired by Alec Baldwin Contained Live Bullet, Says IATSE Local 44 (Update) https://t.co/kzbSFQcs71— IndieWire (@IndieWire) October 22, 2021
"IATSE Local 44 sent an email that said the gun used in the scene contained 'a live round' and the production's propmaster was not a member of Local 44."
The sheriff's department released a statement, saying:
"Ms. Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico Hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr. Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries. This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
More official statements have followed as people try to piece together exactly what happened.
The movie’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, said in their statement:
“The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones. We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event.”
Last night, in an email from IATSE Local 44 propmasters, Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Pawluc called the event an “an accidental weapons discharge” in which a “live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the director of photography, Local 600 member Halnya Hutchins, and director Joel Souza… Local 44 has confirmed that the props, set decoration, special effects, and construction departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members. There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet.”
If there was no one from the proper union on set, it begs the question—who was in charge of the guns? And how could a live round have been in the chamber?
The International Cinematographers Guild released the following statement on Thursday night:
“We received the devastating news this evening, that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography on a production called Rust in New Mexico died from injuries sustained on the set. The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event. This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild’s family,”
This is a terrible tragedy, and we'll do our best to keep you updated as more details are released.