Cape man dies on Hollywood movie set

By Megan Baadjies Time of article published Dec 17, 2015

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Cape Town - A grieving widow is desperate for answers after her husband was crushed to death in a freak accident on the set of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

The sixth film in the hit Hollywood franchise, which stars Milla Jovovich, was filmed earlier this year in South Africa, including in Belhar.

Shafiefa Cornelius’ whole world was shattered two weeks ago when her husband of only nine months, Ricardo Cornelius, was in a fatal accident at work.

The 34-year-old Mitchells Plain man had been a crew member on the set for five weeks, after being unemployed for a year.

He died on December 3 after he was crushed by one of the props, a US army issue Hummer, that apparently fell on top of him.

Heartbroken Shafiefa says: “We already bought his Christmas clothes and shoes. I buried him in his Christmas clothes.”

The Daily Voice understands Ricardo and other crew members had to manually rotate a small platform upon which the vehicle stood, but the platform tilted and the huge vehicle fell on him.

Ricardo was rushed to hospital where he was placed on life support, but he died hours later with his wife and parents by his side.

The grieving young widow says her husband was snatched away from her just six days before their 10-month wedding anniversary.

The Tafelsig couple did not have any children.

Shafiefa, 26, is now demanding answers from the movie’s bosses about how her husband died.

“(Ricardo’s colleague) called me and said he needs Ricardo’s identity document because he got hurt at work but I don’t have to worry,” she explains.

“I couldn’t find his ID so I gave our marriage certificate.

“When I asked what happened, (he) said Ricardo will have to stay in hospital for a few days.

“I thought he hurt a finger or something so I didn’t worry too much.”

Later that day the same colleague came to fetch Shafiefa and took her to the Netcare Kuils River hospital.

“At the hospital, doctors said they had to take him into theatre as soon as he arrived,’ she says.

“His heart stopped and they were fighting for his life but managed to revive him again. The doctors said his lungs were completely flat and he was bleeding a lot.

“I became hysterical and I demanded to see him. But they had to clean him first.”

Nothing could have prepared Shafiefa for what she was about to see.

“He was unconscious and he was already on life support,” she says.

“I held his hand and I told him not to leave us because we need him and he is a strong man.

“I spoke to him but the doctors said he didn’t know what was going on around him.”

By that time, both their mothers had arrived.

“We were with him for about an hour, then he died,” she says.

Shafiefa says although the company Ricardo worked for, All Access Crew, helped her financially, she needed closure.

“No amount of money will bring my husband back,” she says.

“No one can tell me what happened, I need closure. His colleagues who I spoke to blocked me on WhatsApp.

“None of the bosses have even contacted me to tell me what happened.

“I’ve been making my own assumptions all along.”

Shafiefa says her husband had been excited about his new job.

“He was really happy about his new job because we just got married and we were both at home,” she says.

“We also had plans for my birthday on December 26th, but now he’s not here.”

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk says an inquest was opened.

The Daily Voice telephoned and emailed Cassandre Wilson, the managing director of All Access Crew for comment, but she did not respond.

Daily Voice

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