'Star Wars' producers charged over Harrison Ford accident

LONDON -- British health authorities announced Thursday they have issued criminal charges against the producers of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" over an on-set accident in which Harrison Ford broke his leg.

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The actor was struck by a hydraulic door on the set of the Millennium Falcon -- his character Han Solo's spaceship -- at Pinewood Studios near London in June 2014. He was airlifted to a hospital where he underwent surgery.

Production on the film was suspended for two weeks after the injury to Ford, who was 71 at the time.

The Health and Safety Executive said Thursday it had charged Foodles Production (UK) Ltd. -- a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co. -- with four breaches of workplace health and safety laws.

It said "by law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers -- this is as true on a film set as a factory floor."

Foodles Production said the safety of cast and crew was "a top priority" and it was disappointed by the decision to prosecute.

The first court hearing is scheduled for May at High Wycombe Magistrates' Court, near the studio.

"The Force Awakens" is the seventh instalment in the space saga and has taken more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office since its release two months ago.

Filming is underway on episode eight, directed by Rian Johnson and due for release late next year.



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