Saugus, CA Movie Filming Accident Kills Vic Morrow and 2 Children, July 1982
CRASH HAD MACABRE SIDE.
Hollywood (UPI) -- The helicopter crash that killed actor VIC MORROW and two Vietnamese child actors was an eerie tragedy made all the more macabre by its resemblance to the sinister motion picture being filmed.
As so often happened in episodes of the spine- chilling television series "The Twilight Zone," the Friday accident on the set of the motion picture of the same name was preceeded by a premonition.
"I had a premonition before we left," said Randall Robinson, 35, an assistant cameraman who survived the helicopter crash. "We'd been shooting earlier and got pretty hot heat from one of the fireballs."
"I was also concerned because after I asked about the first explosion, they said it was just beginning and the rest would be stronger."
"We got blown out of the sky. I could see a fireball surrounding the helicopter. The first one was so bad, I turned to leave. The second knocked us on our side and the third blast that hit us was under the tail rotor."
"I saw the copter blowing up the village," said lighting technician Mike Corbett, who witnessed the accident from about 200 feet away. "First one of the fireball gasoline bombs went off and I heard a brief explosion blow off the rotor. The the copter went out of control."
Filming of the Vietnam War scene, the first of four episodes of "The Twilight Zone," was nearly complete when the accident happened about 2:30 a.m. PDT. The "wrap" party celebrating the end of shooting was to have been held Sunday.
Robert Gaynor, a camera crane operator, was working at riverside when the accident occurred.
"The entire operation took only a few seconds," he said. "The cameras rolled and the helicopter was hovering. It was supposed to 'destroy' the village. VIC MORROW was supposed to run across the river with the two children -- to save them."
"As the helicopter went out of control, he was running .... and the helicopter spun down and met VIC MORROW at the water level."
Chronicle Telegram Elyria Ohio 1982-07-24
CRIMINAL CHARGES MAY BE FILED IN DEATHS OF CHILD ACTORS.
Hollywood (UPI) -- Criminal charges may be filed in the deaths of two child actors, working illegally late at night, who were killed with actor VIC MORROW in a freak helicopter accident, a state official said Saturday.
Francis Bacon, senior deputy labor commissioner for the state Department of Industrial Relations, said there was "absolutely no way" the two children could be legally working at 2:30 a.m. under California law.
"Depending on the results of the investigation we may turn the case over to the district attorney's office," Bacon said.
The children, RENEE SHINN CHEN, 6, of Pasadena, and MY-CA DINH LE, 7, of Cerritos, were being carried by MORROW during filming of a scene for the movie "The Twilight Zone," when the helicopter crashed.
Autopsies performed Saturday disclosed MORROW and the 7-year-old boy were decapitated by the blades of the helicopter and the girl died from injuries suffered when she was struck by the aircraft, a coroner's department spokesman said.
The scene being filmed from the helicopter depicted a battle scene from the Vietnamese War.
MORROW, 50, was running across an inlet of the Santa Clarita River about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles carrying the children when the helicopter crashed.