Safety probe launched after Cardington Studios tragedy

PUBLISHED: 07:02 14 June 2018

Cardington Studios, where Russell Bowry fell to his death. Picture: Google Street View

Cardington Studios, where Russell Bowry fell to his death. Picture: Google Street View

Archant

A safety probe has been launched after a dad plummeted to his death at the famous film studio where Harry Potter and Star Wars were shot.

Russell Bowry from Lower Stondon died after falling at Cardington Studios, which uses a towering 180ft tall former zeppelin shed to build sets.

Mr Bowry, a rigger, was working at the site on the outskirts of Bedford when tragedy struck.

An air ambulance was scrambled with helimedics Magpas describing the 52-year-old as having suffered “severe injuries”.

He was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in a “critical condition”, but sadly died.

Bedfordshire Police investigated the death but passed it to the Health & Safety Executive – which could hit the studio with hefty fines if the government body finds failings.

A spokesman for the studio said: “Russell Bowry was well known and respected in the rigging industry and all at Cardington Studios remain deeply affected and saddened by his death.

“The HSE are conducting enquiries as is usual in these circumstances.

“Out of respect to that process and to Russell’s family, friends and colleagues we feel it is not appropriate to make any further statement for the time being.”

A Health & Safety Executive spokesman said: “This is an ongoing investigation and we are unable to comment further at this time.”

In the wake of Mr Bowry’s death in March of this year, devastated friends rallied to help his grieving family and donated £14,000 to support his two children.

The fundraising page’s founder Kevan Smith wrote last month: “It is difficult to find the rights words to say ‘thank you’.

“The generosity of the rigging community has been nothing short of amazing. It’s been heartwarming to read the comments made which have given us an insight into Russ’s work life and what a family the rigging community are.”

The giant buildings at Cardington have been used as sets in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the Dark Knight.

Tim Burton was the latest high-profile director to film at the Bedfordshire base, who last year used it for his upcoming live action Dumbo.

Away from the silver screen the site is home to the Airlander 10 project, which is developing the world’s largest aircraft.

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