Set dresser killed in 'Jumper' accident


TORONTO -- A veteran Toronto set dresser was killed Thursday on the set of the Samuel L. Jackson starrer "Jumper," a sci-fi thriller from director Doug Liman, when frozen sand, earth and ice from an exterior set rained down on workers below.

David Ritchie, 56, a veteran set dresser, was killed instantly, a second man was sent to hospital with serious head and shoulder injuries, while a third man escaped harm.

"On behalf of the entire production, it is with profound sadness that we confirm this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David Ritchie's family at this time," a spokesperson for Jumper Prods. said.

Staff Sgt. Joanne Verbeek, a police officer with Toronto's 51 Division, said initial reports that a wooden wall had fallen on the three men were incorrect.

Investigators instead found that the sand and earth frozen to the wall for exterior design came unstuck as the set was being torn down and crushed Ritchie, causing his death.

"It was just an unfortunate, fluke accident," Verbeek said.

Ritchie was pronounced dead at the scene by police and rescue workers, who were called to the outdoor location in Toronto's waterfront Portlands district at 2:22 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Toronto shooting on the film wrapped Jan. 15. Director Liman and his cast, including Hayden Christensen, have since moved on to Tokyo for additional location shooting.

The workplace mishap occurred as separate crew members were dismantling the exterior set for shipment to Baja, California, for reshoots of outdoor scenes.