Harrowing 911 audio has revealed how the stuntwoman killed on the set of Deadpool 2 went ‘airborne through a building’ after losing control of her bike.
Joi ‘SJ’ Harris, a professional motorbike racer from New York, was killed shortly after 8am on Monday while filming in Vancouver, British Columbia, when she crashed into the lobby of Shaw Tower.
In the call recording dispatchers can be heard discussing the accident, saying Harris hit a curb before being thrown through the air and ‘hasn’t been moving’ since.
The call audio emerged as one witness told Deadline that Harris had not been wearing a helmet during the crash because the character she was portraying, Domino, was not supposed to be wearing one.
Haunting Facebook posts also revealed Harris’s final excited messages to friends when she arrived in Vancouver on Saturday to start shooting her first movie.
Harris was an experienced racer and the first African-American woman to be licensed in the sport of professional road racing, but had not worked for the big screen before.
On Saturday she had uploaded images of Vancouver, as her friends commented below. Nicole Davis-Lynch wrote ‘go best friend!’ along with an large image of a heart, to which Harris responded: ‘Go best friend, go best friend.’
A series of well-wishes followed, before news of the tragedy broke on Monday.
Around the time of the accident Glen Ettienne wrote to Harris asking her to ‘hit me up’, before her loved ones realize that nobody can get in touch with her.
Just a few hours later Irvondra Boyce-El breaks the bad news, saying ‘she passed, on the set of the Deadpool movie,’ before the joyous posts turn to heartbroken tributes.
Kenya Moore wrote ‘I LOVE YOU SIS,’ before Grace Roselli added: ‘This just sucks. Am so sorry for her friends and family’s loss. SJ was truly amazing.’ Nesh Cheekz Dickinson said: RIP.. my heart is broken.. just spoke to her..’
Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds paid also tribute to Harris on Monday, saying he was ‘heartbroken’ by the tragedy.
‘Today, we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming Deadpool,’ wrote the film’s star in a message posted to his social media accounts.
‘We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated…but recognize nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loves ones must feel in this moment.’
He closed out by saying: ‘My heart pours out to them – along with each and every person she touched in this world.’
Paramedics quickly arrived at the waterfront office building in the British Columbia city and were able to pull Harris from the wreckage and get her to the hospital, but her injuries were too severe.
Audio from the 911 call made after the crash reveals that Harris was not moving following the crash, with one man stating she flew across the street and ‘remained airborne’ as she went through the glass.
The rescue vehicle was on site for 45 minutes after loading in the victim and drove off without using its sirens according to CTV Vancouver.
‘Vancouver Police can confirm that a female stunt driver has died on the set of Deadpool during a stunt on a motorcycle,’ the local force said in a statement Monday.
‘VPD officers are at the scene, along with officers from WorkSafeBC. More information will be released when it is available.’
WorkSafeBC, who has five workers investigating the crash, also released a statement on Monday.
‘WorkSafeBC was contacted by the Vancouver Police Department this morning at 8:31am regarding a serious incident in the 1000 Block of West Waterfront Road, Van B.C. WorkSafeBC has five officers at the incident site,’ said the agency.
‘Two officers are inspecting the site for immediate occupational health and safety issues. Three officers are investigating the incident for cause and prevention under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.’
Eyewitnesses to the horrific tragedy claimed that they did not hear the motorcycle break before the crash.
‘People were running on the sidewalk, the motorcycle comes flying across the street, looks like from a ramp because it was in the air,’ said one individual.
‘[The victim was] standing on the bike, slams into that building, clearly hit and out-of-control and clearly not planned.’
That person then added: ‘It was so out-of-control, it looked like an accident.’
Another witness said they watched as the bike went ‘out-of-control,’ saying it then ‘flew right into the building.’
Sharmina Kermalli said she had just walked into a Starbucks next door to where the accident happened when she heard a loud crash. She ran out of the coffee shop and saw glass still falling on the body of the woman.
The victim had completed the stunt successfully four times prior to the crash on the set of the film before something went wrong on the fifth attempt. It is unclear still if those attempts were all being filmed or just practice runs for Harris.
Nathan Kramchynski had been watching Harris complete several rehearsals of the stunt from his office on the seventh floor of the Shaw Tower.
He saw Harris drive the bike down two ramps across two flights of stairs, each time stopping at the end.
But on the fifth attempt, Harris went down the stairs and then suddenly ‘picked up speed’.
‘It looked like she kind of hit the throttle,’ Kramchynski told Metro News. ‘Before you know it, she crossed [the] street and then [we] kind of lost her to view.’
‘But we saw she had no where else to go. It was like, she was going full throttle – and then there’s a building there.’
Kramchynski said it also appeared Harris ‘missed’ hitting two pedestrians as she lost control of the bike.
Harris was reportedly travelling at a speed of approximately 35 mph when she crashed, hitting a pool before going into the building.
There were no other injuries reported and filming was halted for the day after the crash.
Investigators meanwhile were spotted on the scene snapping photos of the motorcycle and impact site as they try and piece together what caused the fatal crash.
Three workers have been assigned to the investigation while the other two were addressing any immediate concerns as a result of the accident.
A number of local streets had been shut down for the past week according to residents to film bike scenes for the film.
The upcoming Marvel release also stars Josh Brolin and Jack Kesy along with Morena Baccarin and TJ Miller, who both appeared in the first film.
‘We are deeply saddened by the accident that occurred on the set of Deadpool 2 this morning. Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of our crew member during this difficult time,’ 21st Century Fox said in a statement on Monday.
Reynolds is a Vancouver native, having grown up in the British Columbia city before striking it big in Hollywood.
It has been over 20 years since a stunt performer was killed in the city, with the last incident occurring in 1996 when a man’s parachute failed to deploy after jumping from a helicopter on the set of the film ‘Firestorm,’ which starred former football star Howie Long and James Cameron’s wife Suzy Amis.
A performer was killed last month on the set of ‘The Walking Dead’ in Georgia.
John Bernecker, 33, died from injuries he suffered after falling off a 25-foot balcony during filming for the show’s upcoming season.
There was also an incident on the set of the upcoming sixth installment of the rebooted Mission Impossible franchise last week that left star Tom Cruise limping when he hit the side of a building after jumping off the structure for a sequence in the film.