Tragedy struck The Walking Dead family this week, as stuntman John Bernecker died after fall of over 20 feet on the set.
Bernecker was taken to Atlanta Medical Center on Wednesday after the fall, and he was treated in the intensive care unit. He was then pronounced dead on July 12 at 6:30 PM ET.
Now, new details regarding Bernecker's death have been released. According to TMZ, the stuntman was supposed to fall onto a cushion, 22 feet below the balcony of The Sanctuary. Bernecker barely missed the target.
Assistant director Matthew Goodwin told the police that Bernecker missed the cushion "just by inches." Goodwin went on to say that the stuntman didn't get very good separation from the balcony when he started the fall, and that he "attempted to abort the fall by grabbing onto the railing with both hands."
He then told the police that Bernecker's momentum slammed him into the bottom of the balcony, causing him to release his hands, and he fell onto his head and neck.
What Was The Stunt?
The stunt was taking place at the Sanctuary - where the villainous Negan calls home. The balcony that he fell from was seen at the end of Season 7, when Negan told his group of followers that he was going to war with Rick.
There's no telling what the fall could have been, but it the scene was involving the character of Dwight, played by Austin Amelio.
Amelio told the police that he and Bernecker were talking before the stunt took place, and John said that he had never done a fall from that height (22 feet) before. The actor added that Bernecker "seemed a little nervous."
John's girlfriend, Jennfier Cocker, is a stuntwoman as well, but she wasn't on set when the incident occurred. Understandably, she is incredibly upset with the production.
"Sets need to be safer. There has to be a prerequisite not to put a super professional stuntman with an inexperienced actor who doesn't know what he's doing."
According to the police, John gave a thumbs-up signal before filming began.
Following the tragedy of Bernecker's passing, AMC has announced that production on The Walking Dead would halt temporarily. The network released the following statement with that announcement:
“We are saddened to report that John Bernecker, a talented stuntman for The Walking Dead and numerous other television shows and films, suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set,” AMC's statement said. “He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital, and we have temporarily shut down production. We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
There's no word as to when production will begin again, but it likely won't be until the end of July.
The cast of the series is heading to San Diego Comic Con next week, to promote Season 8, so production was already getting put on hold for that time.
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Fear the Walking Dead returns September 10. The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October with a trailer coming in July at San Diego Comic Con. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter