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Camera crew walk-off in the hours before Alec Baldwin fatally shot Halyna Hutchins

Members of the production team involved in the filming of 'Rust' reportedly left the set on the morning of the tragic incident, blaming poor working conditions.

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Camera crew walk-off in the hours before Alec Baldwin fatally shot Halyna Hutchins
Roberto E. Rosales AP

In the hours before the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, members of the camera crew on the set of the Alec Baldwin-produced movie reportedly walked off set to protest unsatisfactory working conditions.

The LA Times reports that six people, thought to be camera operators and their assistants, were unhappy with the on-set conditions, complaining of excessive hours and delayed paychecks. The Times also quotes someone close to the production team who warned that the prop gun used on set had misfired three times in the last two weeks.

A crew member claims that the team had arrived on set as usual at 6:30am on Thursday morning, but soon began gathering their equipment and personal belongings. Around six hours later, actor Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged the prop gun, fatally wounding Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza in the process.

Trouble on set for production of ‘Rust’

Shooting for the film began on 6 October, but right from the off there were disputes after members of the production team were led to believe that they would have fully-paid for hotel rooms in Santa Fe, where most of the film was being shot.

However they were told that they would actually be staying in Albuquerque, giving them a 50-mile commute every day for filming.

Tensions on set appear to have worsened and Hutchins, according to one crew member, had been forced to push for safer working conditions for her team. On the morning of the tragic incident the camera crew, who were members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, began packing up their gear and several non-union workers soon turned up to take their place.

“Corners were being cut — and they brought in non-union people so they could continue shooting,” the on-set source told the LA Times, and added: “there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”

A statement from Rust Movie Productions LLC, released in the wake of the incident, said: "Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down.

“We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”