Act that may have prevented Bliss N Eso film clip death
The failure to test fire weapons on the film set of a hip hop music video in Brisbane was likely a contributing factor in the unintentional death of a stunt actor, the Coroners Court has heard.
Stuntman and Gold Coast father Johann Ofner was fatally wounded on the set of a Bliss N Eso film clip when he was shot in the chest with a double barrel shotgun loaded with two blank 12 gauge cartridges.
It happened at Brisbane bar Brooklyn Standard on January 23 2017 during the filming of a music video for the band's song Friend Like You.
Brisbane Coroner Donald MacKenzie is now investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr Ofner's death.
At a preliminary inquest hearing today Counsel Assisting Sarah Lio-Willie said Ofner was one of four stunt actors filming an "underground poker" scene that escalated into a shootout for the music video.
Ms Lio-Willie said Warren Ritchie, a well known armourer, was engaged by production company Dreamers Creative Agency for the video.
Mr Ritchie supplied a 12-gauge side-by-side break action shortened shotgun, an M11 model replica submachine gun, and two nine-millimetre blank-fire self-loading pistols to the set.
On the day of filming the actors ran through a final dress rehearsal and sequences for the gun fire scene "without discharging any firearms".
Mr Ritchie was responsible for loading and unloading the firearms as was stunt co-ordinator Judd Wild under Mr Ritchie's supervision, the court heard.
Mr Wild is well known in the industry having been awarded for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road.
During the scene Japanese stuntman Shinji Ikefuji pulled both triggers on the shotgun towards Mr Ofner from just over a metre away.
At the end of the scene the actors were asked if they were okay however Mr Ofner did not respond.
It was then realised that he was still on his back and blood was seen on his chest.
When paramedics arrived they observed two large chest wounds and could not detect a pulse as Mr Ofner lay without breathing. Resuscitation efforts continued for 24 minutes without success.
A post mortem determined just one of the projectiles had caused death, penetrating his chest and lacerating the heart due to force. Fibre filler wads were found in the wound.
The cause of death was deemed gunshot wound.
A police investigation found the death was unintentional but if a test fire of the shotgun had been conducted prior "it was highly likely that this incident would not have occurred".
The Office of Industrial Relations investigations found 14 core or contributing factors to the death including failing to implement a risk assessment that should have found potential harm from firing blank cartridges at someone.
It establishes armourer Warren Ritchie had breached a duty of care however Mr Ritchie has since died and prosecution was not commenced.
The inquest heard two of the three stunt actors present at the time - Yutaka Izumihara and Yoshiano Aonuma - could not be located to give evidence about the safety briefing given on set.
The stuntman who unknowingly fired the fatal shot Shinji Ikefuji has returned to Japan to care for a terminally ill relative.
The inquest was adjourned to June 30 where it is expected to run over three days.
Originally published as Act that may have prevented stuntman's film clip death