Harrison Ford was at ‘risk of death’ in Star Wars set accident, court hears

Foodles Productions pleads guilty to health and safety breaches during filming The Force Awakens

Harrison Ford was at “risk of death” in an accident whilst filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens in June 2014, which saw him crushed underneath a hydraulic door on the Millenium Falcon set, a court has heard.

Ford was filming at Pinewood Studios in London when he was crushed underneath the door in an incident that saw him sustain severe injuries, including a broken left leg and dislocated ankle, and resulted in him being airlifted to hospital in Oxford as a result. The shooting of J.J. Abrams’ blockbuster was delayed for around eight weeks while the Han Solo actor recovered from his injuries.

Foodles Production, the company responsible for the set, pleaded guilty to two breaches under health and safety legislation for the accident.

Ford had walked onto the set believing it not to be live, but Milton Keynes magistrates court heard how the door was operated by another person as the Han Solo actor passed underneath it, crushing him below what a health and safety executive compared to the weight of a small car.

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Andrew Marshal, prosecuting, described Foodles Production’s breaches as causing “risk of death”. He added: “It could have killed somebody. The fact that it didn’t was because an emergency stop was activated.”

Foodles pleaded guilty to one count under section two of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, relating to a breach of duty in relation to employees, and a second under section three, relating to a breach over people not employed by the company.

Angus Withington, defending, said that despite pleading guilty, Foodles would contest the level of risk involved.

Ford revealed how he broke his leg on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in an interview on Jonathan Ross’s TV chatshow in December last year.

Speaking at the time, he said: “We had a big budget this time. In the original film, the door – if there had been a door – would have been closed with a pulley and a stage hand just closing it. Now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a fucking great hydraulic door which closed at light speed and somebody said, ‘Ooh I wonder what this is?’ And the door came down and hit me on my left hip because I was turned to my right.

“And then it flung my left leg up and it dislocated my ankle, and as it drove me down to the floor, my legs slapped on the ramp up to the Millennium Falcon and broke both bones in my left leg.”

Asked by Ross whether he had found out which crew member caused his injuries, Ford replied: “I don’t know and I don’t want to know.”

Since its release in last December, J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens has raked in over $2.8 billion at the global box office, making it the second highest-grossing film of all time behind James Cameron’s Avatar.
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