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Camera Assistant Killed by Train While Filming Gregg Allman Biopic

By Tanya Goodall Smith on February 21st 2014


Photo by Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been officially dubbed the ‘Train Track Police’ here at SLR Lounge, and I’m sad to report yet another photographer fatality on the tracks. As reported by Variety, a second camera assistant was hit and killed by a freight train Thursday afternoon while filming the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider,” in Wayne County, GA. Four other people were injured in the accident as well.

The crew was filming a dream sequence for the upcoming film starring William Hurt. They had placed a bed on a railroad trestle, when an unexpected train crossed the bridge, giving the crew less than a minute to get out of the way. Unfortunately, one assistant didn’t make it, and others were injured by debris from the bed, which exploded after being hit by the train.

No details are given about why the crew was filming on active tracks. I’m surprised a production of this caliber was not using a closed off section of tracks with specifically timed and controlled train usage. While I don’t have all the facts about this specific case, I urge photographers everywhere to use caution near railroad tracks, make sure you have the necessary permits and permission to use the tracks in any production and, in general, just stay OFF the tracks!

Review our specific reasons for staying off the tracks (and safety guidelines from Operation Lifesaver) in the following articles:


Please help us keep our photography community safe by spreading the word and speaking up when you see photographers on tracks.

via @Daily Mail

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Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jacob Jexmark

    If you want to do railroad track photography just stick to abandoned tracks, they are often more interesting subjects anyway.

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  2. josh huspin

    I have trouble believing this article. This reminds me of that scene in Austin Powers where the Powers is driving a steam roller toward a bad guy from 50 yards away and the bad guy doesn’t get out of the way in time. Seriously? A minute? It takes you 60 seconds to get out of the way of a train?

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    Hello! I am a bit of a camera amature.
    I would like to thank you for this great article.
    I really enjoyed reading it.
    I have already signed up for your RSS feeds and would
    like to ask do you have and email list? would enjoy
    reading your news in my mailbox!!
    Thankyou again!!

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  4. Hanssie

    So very sad. After your first two articles I decided never to do photos on train tracks again.

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