Beds, Herts & Bucks

Cardington Hangar Studios rigger died after 31ft fall

Cardington hangars Image copyright Geograph/Peter Evans
Image caption Russell Bowry had been working for Elstree Light and Power Broadcast and Events Limited at Cardington Hangar Studios

A rigger suffered an irreversible brain injury when he plunged from the roof of a temporary stage in a film studio, an inquest heard.

Russell Bowry, 52, from Lower Stondon in Bedfordshire, fell 9.5m (31ft) at the Cardington Hangar Studios near Bedford in March 2018.

Ampthill Coroner's Court heard he had been working for Elstree Light and Power Broadcast and Events Limited.

He was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and died three days later.

'Heard a bang'

Cardington Studios, which has three main stages, has played host to films including the Harry Potter franchise and The Dark Knight.

Bedfordshire senior coroner Emma Whitting told the jury the self-employed father of two was working in Hangar 2 for a company that supplies lighting and rigging to the entertainment industry.

She said Mr Bowry's wife Jackie said he was originally a roofer but had been a rigger for more than 15 years and had first worked at Cardington in 2007.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ampthill Coroner's Court heard Mr Bowry was an experienced rigger

In a statement read to the jury, Jamie Lee Dawson, who was working in the hangar, said he "heard a shout and then a bang" and "thought it was something someone had dropped".

He said he saw a hole in the roof and Mr Bowry lying on the floor.

"Russ was on his back motionless and looking very grey. I thought he was dead," he said.

Mr Dawson said he went to the office to call for an ambulance, but people were already calling.

Rigger Nick Bail told the hearing he saw Mr Bowry fall, clutching his chest.

He said the roof was built at ground level and raised 9.5m by motors with the intention of fixing safety lines.

The court also heard there were no traces of alcohol or drugs in Mr Bowry's system at the time of the fall.

The inquest continues.

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