A coronial inquiry into the accidental gunshot death of stuntman Johann ‘Yogi’ Ofner whilst filming a Bliss n Eso video in January 2017.
The Gold Coast stuntman, 28, died at Brooklyn Standard in Eagle Lane on January 23rd after being shot with a gun “loaded with blanks” whilst on set filming a video for the Sydney groups single, ‘Friends Like You.’
As The Music Network report, a preliminary inquest into the incident took place yesterday (April 21st), by The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) and Queensland Police.
The shoot undertook all the necessary approval procedures before filming, including acquiring permits, weapons from a licensed armourer supplier, informing police that a weapon was to be fired and having a safety officer and stunt coordinator on set.
However, the OIR claim that the investigation found 14 factors surrounding the death including failing to implement a risk assessment on firing blank cartridges.
Police concluded that the death was accidental, but acknowledged that if the shotgun had been fired during rehearsal, “it was highly likely that this incident would not have occurred”.
The incident took place whilst running through a final dress rehearsal for the video’s climax, involving three other stuntmen, Shinji Ikefuji, Yutaka Izumihara and Yoshiano Aonuma. A theory surrounding the death suggests that blanks were used, but a potential piece of debris from the chamber pierced Ofner’s chest, lacerating his heart. CPR was performed, but Ofner was pronounced dead before paramedics arrived.
Warren Ritchie, the late owner of Fireworks Down Under, was responsible for loading and unloading the firearms alongside stunt coordinator Judd Wild (Mad Max: Fury Road).
In the aftermath of Ofner’s death, Bliss n Eso announced a charity tribute show and released a music video honouring his life. The concert was hosted in Ofner’s hometown region of the Gold Coast, at the Coolangatta Hotel in March. Over $40,000 in proceeds from the show were donated to a trust for Ofner’s daughter.