AceShowbiz - The chief electrician on the set of Santa Fe western "Rust" insists producers' attempts to "save a dime" led to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' death last week (21Oct21).
The revered director of photography died from a gunshot wound after Alec Baldwin fired a "prop gun" and released a real bullet during a rehearsal, and now Serge Svetnoy, the chief electrician on the set, insists a series of vital checks were ignored - and these cost Halyna her life.
In a post on Facebook, picked up by Deadline, he wrote, "The person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it."
"To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well (sic). I understand that you always fight for the budget, but you cannot allow this to happen... It is true that the professionals can cost a little more and sometimes can be a little bit more demanding, but it is worth it. No saved penny is worth the LIFE of the person!"
Svetnoy reveals he held Hutchins in his arms after she was shot.
"I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life and injured the director Joel Souza," he adds. "I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands."
"I'm sure that we had the professionals in every department, but one - the department that was responsible for the weapons. There is no way a twenty-four-year-old woman can be a professional with armory; there is no way that her more-or-less the same-aged friend from school, neighborhood, Instagram, or God knows where else, can be a professional in this field."
"Professionals are the people who have spent years on sets, people who know this job from A to Z. These are the people who have the safety on set at the level of reflexes; they do not need to be told to put the sandbag on a tripod, fix the ladder on the stage, or fence off the explosion site. They have it in their blood."
Last month (Sep21), the set's armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, told the "Voices of the West" podcast she was nervous about her job, stating, "I kinda just caught on my myself. I think loading blanks was, like, the scariest thing to me, because I was like, 'Oh, I don't know anything about it.' "