Entertainment Movies Massive fine for Star Wars company over Ford’s Falcon injury

Massive fine for Star Wars company over Ford’s Falcon injury

Harrison Ford Star Wars
Harrison Ford at The Force Awakens European premier in Leicester Square, London. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA
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A production company behind the Star Wars movie The Force Awakens has been fined over £1.6 million (AUS $2.6 million) over an accident in which actor Harrison Ford broke his leg.

The 74-year-old was injured on set at England’s Pinewood Studios in June 2014.

As he reprised his role as Han Solo he was struck by a metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd, owned by Disney, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive. 

After the accident, Harrison Ford was airlifted to hospital for surgery.

Harrison Ford Star Wars
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca and Harrison Ford as Hans Solo in the original 1977 “Star Wars. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox via AP

The HSE said he suffered a broken leg and deep lacerations when he was knocked off his feet and pinned to the floor of the Millennium Falcon set as a prop door closed on him.

Its investigation found that there was no automatic emergency cut off, to protect those on set, instead relying on the reactions of the prop operator to bring the door to a stop.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard how a combination of preventable events, starting with how the door was designed, led to the incident.

During dress rehearsals Harrison Ford walked back towards the entrance ramp of the Millennium Falcon and pressed the prop door button to ‘close’ the door.

“As the cameras were not rolling he did not expect it to close. The production crew member who was operating the prop believed they were in full rehearsal and closed the door,” the HSE report said.

“The door’s steel frame was overlaid with sheets of metal and had a tapered edge. Its operation moved from ceiling to floor in a sharp downward motion. It did not have any automated safety mechanisms to cut out if a person was unexpectedly under the door.”

Foodles had pleaded guilty to the charge at a previous hearing.

HSE’s Divisional Director Tim Galloway said: “This incident was foreseeable and preventable and could have resulted in more serious injury or even death.

“The power and speed of the door was such that, had Mr Ford or anyone else had been struck on the head by the door as it closed, they might easily have been killed.

“It was only the almost instantaneous actions of the prop operator in hitting the emergency stop that prevented the door from continuing to press down on Mr Ford as he lay on the floor.”

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