Thursday, 28 April 2011

Matt Cranch Stuntman Death at Scott May Show at Detling Kent - Some Facts, Some Rumours and Some Questions

With all the news about the tragic Human Cannonball accident at Detling Showground there are a few details that are facts, some that have been stated but could be incorrect and a number of questions that have been raised.

Known Facts:

The landing net released as the stuntman left the cannon
The landing net was supposedly to release once he had landed and had a number of seconds to leave the net first, as can be seen at the end in this YouTube video of a previous show
The Stuntshow at Detling Kent had two performances, other shows only had one per day
Only one St Johns Ambulance volunteer on site with no ambulance present.
One person seated monitoring the Human Canonball stunt where previously there were five standing.
Small arena venue and Honda Pilot stunt was stopped & repeated stunt when it veered towards crowd

The accident happened at 1538 as Matt Cranch performed the human cannonball stunt.
The first paramedic responder was on scene at 1547
The main ambulance arrived at 1552
The police arrived on site at 1555
The air ambulance arrived at 1558
The land based ambulance left site at 1632 to take Matt to Maidstone hospital
The air ambulance left site empty at 1641to return to base

The incredible thing from these timings is how quickly the emergency services responded and in particular how quickly the air ambulance was able to get on scene. Within 10 minutes of the accident the paramedics were on site and with 20 minutes of the accident happening the air ambulance was on site. The Kent Air Ambulance is not publicly funded and relies on donations to run. Although sadly in this incident they were unable to save Matt their service is an exceptionally important one.

Unconfirmed Rumours

Matt Cranch had been doing the show for 9 days. His first show was on 16 April 2011 according to video posted online.
There was another injury at show on Friday night at Lingfield with a stunt rider breaking their foot according to a post on YouTube video.


How did the net release at start of stunt when it was meant to happen at the end. Was this an automatic release by timer or other mechanism or does someone/something have to trigger it?
Why did 2003 show have five people standing surrounding the net but 2011 had only one seated some distance?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Rochester Sweeps Festival - 30 April to 2 May 2011

Rochester Sweeps festival is one of the regular Kent festivals that takes place each year on the May Bank holiday weekend. It is a great musical and dance experience with performers along the length of the High Street. It is also a real ale lovers paradise as there is normally a beer festival and many pubs stock up for the Morris dancers attending the festival. Photos of Rochester Sweeps festival are here

In 2010 I used the (then) new Canon 550D to shoot some video of some of the dance sides performing. You can see the Rochester Sweeps Festival 2010 - Tanglefoot Appalachian Clog dancers video on YouTube.

Rochester Sweeps Festival

These are some photos from various Rochester Sweeps festivals over the years.

Scott May Stuntshow Detling - Matt Cranch aka "Max The Manx Crank" Human Cannonball

tI was at Detling showground on Monday 25th April with my family to watch the Scott May Daredevil stuntshow. Sadly during the show the net for the landing of the human cannonball collapsed and stuntman Matt Cranch known by his stage name as "Max The Manx Crank" from his Isle of Man roots died in Maidstone Hospital as a result. It has been suggested that the cause could either be some catastophic failure of the safety system or whether foul play was any part of it. Kent police are appealing for any photos or video taken on the day to be handed to them to assist their investigation into Matt's death. The Sun newspaper reported that Matt Cranch had only been doing the stunt job with Scott May daredevil show for two weeks.

We shot video on the Canon 550D SLR camera with 70-200IS lens. I had taken the camera to give a longer reach than the Canon 5D2 due to the 1.6x crop factor. All video I shot of the event was collected by the police on the evening of the show. The video showing the rest of the Scott May stuntshow is on YouTube and how the nettting collapsed as Matt was projected from the cannon.

Scott May Stuntshow Human Canonball Tragedy at Detling Kent on 25 April 2011

As mentioned in a previous blog post it is possible to extract still images from the video of the Canon range of DSLR cameras. These stills are at full HD resolution 1920x1080 but the clarity will depend on the shutter speed used for the video. The shutter speed for good video movement is not ideal for capture of still images.

As shown in the images the net becomes detached from the cannon lorry just as Matt Cranch is projected from the cannon. The Sun newspaper reported that he had only been doing the stunt job with Scott May daredevil show for two weeks.

Scott May stuntshow at Detling

Scott May stuntshow at Detling

Monday, 25 April 2011

Scott May Stunt show tragedy in Kent - Human Cannonball Goes Tragically Wrong

Stunt show Human Cannonball death in Kent - Stuntman dies during show
Scott May Dare Devil stuntshow at Detling Kent where a stuntman died during the show
The Scott May stuntshow team were performing at Detling Showground in Kent today (Monday 25 April 2011) with their blend of driving skills and stunts. The show started at 3pm and having performed for nearly an hour with car crashes, two wheel driving and motorbikes flying through flames the show turned to the human cannonball stunt. Having counted down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 the cannon went off with a huge bang and a cloud of smoke. At this point something drastically went wrong and the landing net collapsed as the stuntman was being fired from the cannon.
Kent Air ambulance landing at Scott May stunt show in Kent
The stuntman was propelled from the cannon some 30 to 40 feet in the air and at the point of landing the net was lying flat on the ground giving nothing to break his fall against the hard Kent clay. Initially the crowd thought this was an even more dramatic stunt by Scott May's team but it soon became apparent that something had gone seriously wrong as the lone St John's Ambulance volunteer made his way across the arena. Ten minutes or so afterwards an ambulance car arrived on site followed by a South East Coast ambulance. After another 15 minutes or so the arena was cleared for the Kent Air ambulance to land. The paramedics rushed to the location where the stuntman was being treated and continued the treatment that their land based colleagues had begun.
Scott May human cannonball - the vehicle that fired the stuntman prior to the tragic accident
Some 40 minutes after arrival the stuntman was moved into the land based ambulance and driven away to Maidstone hospital. The air ambulance flew off empty shortly afterwards. By this stage a number of police cars had arrived and officers had begun interviewing bystanders to get a picture of what had happened. The BBC have now reported that the stuntman was age 22 and was pronounced dead at Maidstone hospital.
Our video of the whole incident has been passed to the police and the HSE are now conducting a full investigation into a workplace death.

UPDATE: According on one comment left on the YouTube video below the FMX Driver also broke his ankle on the Friday 22nd April 2011
Video of the Scott May Human Cannonball act

Scott May's stunt show has been running for 20 years and has toured the UK many times. We saw the show when it came to Sittingbourne Kent in 2003 and took this video footage of the Human cannonball as it is meant to happen.