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Another ‘Rust’ Tragedy: Crew Member Bitten By Venomous Spider, May Lose Arm

A crewmember who was helping to close down the set after a fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” may lose his arm due to a venomous spider bite he suffered while working.

Sky News reported that lamp operator and pipe rigger Jason Miller was bitten by a brown recluse spider – one of the world’s most venomous spiders – while he was helping to close down the movie’s New Mexico set after actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza while rehearsing a scene on October 21. As the New York Post reported, Miller has reportedly “experienced necrosis of his arm and sepsis as a result of the bite.”

A JustGiving fundraising page has been started for Miller’s hospital bills, and according to Sky News, the page says Miller “has been hospitalized and endured multiple surgeries each day as doctors do their best to stop the infection and try to save his arm from amputation.” The fundraising page also said there is a chance “under worse circumstances” that Miller could lose his arm.

CBS News in 2016 listed the brown recluse as the one of the most dangerous spiders in the world, writing:

If you see a brown spider with a violin shape on its back, proceed with caution: You’re looking at a brown recluse. Most bites are minor, but occasionally, skin around a brown recluse bite will become necrotic, turning a dark color and becoming a deep, open sore as it dies.The article also noted that, in 2015, an elementary school in Pennsylvania shut down after brown recluse nests were found inside.

The possibility of Miller losing his arm is the latest tragedy to befall production of “Rust.” As The Daily Wire has reported, Baldwin was handed a loaded firearm by an assistant director who yelled that it was a “cold gun,” meaning it did not have live ammunition. Baldwin proceeded to rehearse a scene from the movie where his character points a gun at the camera. Baldwin fired what he thought was an empty prop gun, shooting and killing cinematographer Hutchins and injuring the director.

Following the tragedy, reports have indicated that camera crew members had complained about unsafe working conditions in the days leading up to the shooting. As The Daily Wire reported:

Six members of the camera crew walked off the set Thursday morning after days of complaining about long hours and low pay. Members of the crew were driving to the set at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, every morning from Albuquerque, a roughly 50-mile trip, despite being promised hotel rooms in Santa Fe. Hutchins was advocating for safer working conditions for the crew, one source told the [Los Angeles] Times.

At one point, a group of nonunion workers showed up to replace the camera crew, who were members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” one person with knowledge of the situation told the Times. They also added that the prop gun that Baldwin killed Hutchins with had already misfired several times during shooting.

Attorneys for the armorer responsible for the prop guns said the live round may have been placed in Baldwin’s gun to “sabotage the set.”

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