A magisterial inquiry has linked the death of a 39-year-old film extra to an injury the man had sustained during shooting of the film Troy last May 31.
George Camilleri worked as an extra with Latina Pictures Limited, the company that had recruited the extras for Warner Brothers for the epic film starring Brad Pitt.
The $180 million-budget film, which is expected to be released within a few months, involved thousands of crowd extras.
Mr Camilleri was admitted to hospital suffering from trauma to the left ankle and was discharged on a crutch on June 6 but was readmitted on June 15. He was suffering from chest pain and shortness of breath.
The inquiry report, a copy of which was seen by The Times, shows that Mr Camilleri was injured in an accident on a film set where he was a stuntman. He was operated on June 1 but was re-admitted to hospital on June 15 and died two days later.
The inquiry says that Mr Camilleri had no significant medical history and was only on pain killers when admitted. He had been taking steroids in the past.
An autopsy had concluded that Mr Camilleri died of pulmonary thromboembolism which led to a heart failure.
"Pulmonary thromboembolism is not an uncommon complication following trauma, fracture of the lower leg, surgery to the lower limb and immobility," the report says.
The inquiry was conducted by Magistrate Giovanni Grixti.
Several witnesses interviewed on the magistrate's instructions gave different versions of what instructions the extras had been given.
Wayne Leonard Eastwood, the assistant stunt coordinator said that on May 31 there were about 20 stuntmen on each side of a galleon, stranded on the beach in Ghajn Tuffieha. On instructions, they had to jump and fall into the sea in between the oars. The depth of the sea ranged between 18 inches and three feet.
According to Mr Eastwood, the extras had to run to the front part and then "climb down or jump from ladders onto the sand".
The stuntmen had been practising the scene for a week. But when Mr Camilleri was injured, he had jumped from the side instead of from the front, Mr Eastwood said, adding he had not seen him jump.
He said Mr Camilleri had apologised to him and told him he had tried to do a good job.
Eunice Huthart, a stuntwomen, said the extras had to jump from the front part and she was due to jump from the place Mr Camilleri jumped from but he crossed her path and she could see he was in trouble and called the paramedics.
A number of Maltese stuntmen and Wade Eastwood, who gave instructions to stuntmen, said the instructions were that "if you feel comfortable to jump from the front, jump, if not climb down the steps at the front".
Philip Chircop, one of the Maltese stuntmen, said that because of the crowd, he felt it was more comfortable to jump. Others said they had already jumped when Mr Camilleri was injured.
Claudio Azzopardi confirmed that stuntmen had been told that "if you feel comfortable to jump then jump from the forward part of the ship" but when Mr Camilleri was injured, he too had jumped because "the scene was a little more aggressive than usual".
Saviour Chircop, another extra, said Mr Eastwood wanted the scene "to be 500 per cent perfect".
The inquiry concluded that Mr Camilleri had not followed the instructions given to him by Mr Eastwood.
Contacted yesterday, Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, who is representing Mr Camilleri's widow, Josephine, and her children, said he was negotiating with the insurance company over the matter.
He said that although the inquiry contained a single phrase that Mr Camilleri had not followed the instructions given to him, other evidence in the same inquiry showed that the instructions were neither clear nor precise. There were also other factors in the inquiry that could give rise to a lawsuit for damages if negotiations failed but he did not wish to elaborate at this stage.
In Troy, Brad Pitt plays the mightiest of the Greeks, Achilles, in his first swords-and-sandals film. Other stars include Julie Christie and Peter O'Toole, both Academy Award-winners.
One of the stars of the popular TV series Friends, Jennifer Aniston, visited Malta during the shooting to be with her husband, Mr Pitt.
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