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William Hurt emailed friend about safety concerns on Allman Brothers biopic set

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Mar 24, 2014 | 12:56pm EDT

Movie star William Hurt raised concerns about the dangers of filming on train tracks days before a young camera assistant was killed on the set of stalled Allman Brothers biopic Midnight Rider. In an email sent to a friend, Hurt, who is set to play Gregg Allman in the film, wrote he had been assured that it was safe to film on the Doctortown Railroad Trestle in Wayne County, Georgia. But he asked "how long the crew had to get off if by some impossible chance another train came," and was told they had 60 seconds. In the note, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the actor added, "I said, 'Sixty seconds is not enough time to get us off this bridge'. There was a communal pause. No one backed me up. Then, we... just went ahead. I took off my shoes, got on the heavy, metal hospital bed and began preparing." However, when a train did appear, Hurt recalls, "We didn't have 60 seconds. We had less than 30." Sarah Jones, 27, was hit by the train and killed and six other crew members were injured. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office told the Times that Midnight Rider's producers did not have permission to film on the railway trestle, adding there was no railroad representative on the set. The incident is still under investigation and production has since been suspended.

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