Twilight Zone accident

On July 23, 1982 a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter crashed at Indian Dunes in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, during the making of Twilight Zone: The Movie. The crash killed three people on the ground as well as injuring the six helicopter passengers. The incident led to years of civil and criminal action, and was directly responsible for the introduction of new procedures and safety standards within the filmmaking industry.

In the early morning hours of July 23, 1982, Vic Morrow and two children, 7-year-old Myca Dinh Le, and 6-year-old Renee Shin-Yi Chen, were filming on location. They were performing in a scene for the Vietnam sequence, in which their characters attempt to escape from a pursuing U.S. Army helicopter out of a deserted Vietnamese village. The helicopter was hovering at about 24 feet (7.3 m) above them when pyrotechnic explosions damaged it and caused it to crash on top of them, killing all three instantly. Morrow and Le were decapitated by the helicopter rotor, while Chen was crushed by a helicopter strut.

John Landis and four other defendants, including pilot Dorsey Wingo, were ultimately acquitted of involuntary manslaughter after a nearly nine-month trial. The parents of Le and Chen sued and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Morrow’s children also sued and settled for an undisclosed amount.

 

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