Guild works with agencies probing camera assistant’s death in Georgia

The union representing cinematographers and camera operators said it was working with government agencies investigating the death last week of a camera assistant working on a movie in Georgia.

Sarah Jones, 27, was struck and killed by a freight train Thursday during filming of the Gregg Allman bio picture “Midnight Rider” in Savannah. Seven other crew members also were injured in the incident.

“Local 600’s membership and IATSE members across the country are mourning the loss of Sarah Jones,” Steven Poster, president of the International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600), said in a statement. “Sarah was a smart, talented camera assistant with an infectious personality and a promising career ahead of her.”


Poster said union officials sent representatives to the accident site late Thursday afternoon immediately after receiving a call about the accident. He said the union was cooperating with government investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the local sheriff’s office.

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“The safety of our crews is of paramount importance to this union and we will work tirelessly to ensure that a tragedy of this kind never happens again,” Poster added. “There is no way we can mitigate the pain and the loss of Sarah. But we hope that something good can come out of this very unfortunate situation. It will surely shape our talks with producers in the future. There will be memorials across the country to honor the memory of beloved member, Sarah Jones.”

Open Road Films, the film’s U.S. distributor; Unclaimed Freight, the Pasadena company producing the film; and the Georgia-based Meddin Studios film crew had permission from the railroad operator to film “Midnight Rider” near the railroad tracks, but they did not have permission to be on it, authorities told The Times last week.

“I do believe there is going to be an issue about whether they had permission to be on the tracks,” Wayne County Sheriff’s Det. Joe Gardner said in the Times report.


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