Disney Boating Accident
This from the Wednesday December 20, 1995 issue of the Miami Herald
It was to be a routine movie stunt: a runaway fishing boat jumps a ramp, goes airborne and bursts through a stand of mangrove trees.
Bur filming for a Walt Disney comedy turned into a real-life tragedy near Naples on Tuesday when the vessel spun into a crowd of actors, killing a stunt woman who was standing in a fishing boat nearby holding hands with her husband.
Four other stunt people were hurt by flying debris.
The dead woman was identified as Janet Wilder, 29, of California. Her husband Scott was slightly injured. Also hurt were Glen WIlder, Tony Brubaker, and Roy Farfel, all from California, the Florida Marine Patrol reported.
The accident occurred north of Goodland Bay about 15 miles south of Naples, near Marco Island.
The movie being filmed was Gone Fishin which stars Joe Pesci, Danny Glover, and Rosanna Arquette. It's a comedy about what can go wrong when two New Jersey guys (Pesci and Glover)win a dream fishing trip to Florida.
"Our entire crew is terribly saddened by the death of this talented performer." said Claire Raskin, spokesman for the Disney production company. "We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends."
The stunt required the boat to go up a ramp, soar over a stand of mangrove trees and land between two boats, said Collier County Sherrifs Sgt. Jimmy Snell.
But the boat apparently missed a V-shaped guide groove in the center of the ramp that would have kept it on the right path.
It slid to one side, spun and flipped over, then smashed into two boats, which then hit the people. The two stunt actors in the airborne boats were not hurt.
The site is a popular place for filming, said Don Bonsall, a worker at Goodland Bay Marina. He had pumped $10 worth of fuel into the 21-foot Ranger boat less than an hour before the 10:57 a.m. accident. The boat was powered by twin Mercury Outboards, he said.
The Disney crew had been filming along the canal for about three weeks. There were usually more than 100 people around the site, Bonsall said.
Interviewed Monday by the "E" Entertainment cable network, director Christopher Kane had said that he did't like the way the filming had been done for the second half of the stunt, in which the boat clears the mangroves and lands in the middle of a bathing suit contest.
"It's not an exact science," Kane said in the interview, "This particular frame has never been done before. Most times you do a stunt, it's the first time it's been done. You're guessing how fast, how far."
He said after Monday's shooting the boat wasn't going fast enough, "so tomorrow it will probably go too fast and go further than expected."
The Associated Press Contributed to this report
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