Calgary-born rapper Jon James McMurray died Saturday while filming a stunt near Vernon, B.C. There are widespread reports in the media that McMurray was ‘walking on the wing’ of a small Cessna aircraft, causing the aircraft to ‘spiral’ out of control.
According to a statement released by his management team, “Jon held onto the wing until it was too late, and by the time he let go, he didn’t have time to pull his chute. He impacted and died instantly.” The Cessna managed to regain control and landed safely. Another aircraft was reported to be in the vicinity to film the stunt. The B.C. Coroner Service and the Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Marie-Anyk Coté, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, confirmed the agency is also investigating. “Transport Canada’s role is to oversee the operation of aircraft associated with parachuting and to ensure that aircraft owners and operators are compliant with the Canadian Aviation Regulations and their standards. The regulations pertain to pilot licensing, aircraft maintenance, and passenger carriage. Transport Canada will be following up with the aircraft operator to determine that they were in compliance with these regulations.”
McMurray, 34 at the time of his death, was a professional free-style skier before turning to music after a skiing accident left him with a broken back and shattered heel. He moved to Los Angeles as his music career developed.
Many of McMurray’s videos were recorded in exotic locations with the rapper performing aerial stunts involving airplanes in many of them.
This is not the first time a sky-diving stunt being filmed in the Vernon area ended in a fatality. In December of 1995, world champion sky-surfer Rob Harris, 28, was participating in the filming of a Pepsico/Mountain Dew commercial at the Vernon airport (YVK). Harris, also Los Angeles-based, died when his reserve chute failed to deploy properly after his main chute was cut away as part of the James Bond-inspired script