Netflix used rail disaster in Bird Box

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Netflix's Bird Box film contains footage of Lac-Megantic disaster

Image copyright Netflix
Image caption Netflix used footage of the 2013 Lac-Megantic rail disaster in Bird Box, a horror film starring Sandra Bullock

Streaming service Netflix has confirmed it used stock footage of a real-life rail disaster in the film Bird Box.

Netflix will not be removing the brief clip from Canada's Lac-Megantic tragedy used early in the film to depict a fictional news story about an apocalyptic scenario.

Over 40 people were killed in 2013 when a train carrying crude oil derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.

Dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed.

Bird Box is not the only Netflix production containing images of the deadly runaway train disaster.

Earlier this week, similar footage was found to have been used in the Canadian-American science-fiction drama Travelers.

In the show's third season, images of Lac-Megantic's blazing downtown core can be briefly seen illustrating fictional news coverage of a nuclear attack in London.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A cloud of smoke is seen over Lac Megantic after a train explosion, July 6, 2013.

The production company behind the show, Peacock Alley Entertainment, said in a statement that it acquired footage from stock footage vendor Pond 5 "and weren't aware of its specific source".

  • The runaway train that destroyed a town

It apologised, saying it did not mean to dishonour the tragic event in the town, and would be replacing the footage used in the show.

In a statement to BBC, Pond 5 said it deeply regretted the footage being "taken out of context and used in entertainment programming".

The company apologised "to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families".

Clips from the company's collection of stock footage and other media are found in TV and documentary series produced by major news and entertainment companies including Disney, Netflix, the Discovery Channel and the BBC, according to its website.

The company said its library includes both fictional scenes as well as news and archival footage including "historical tragedies, military conflicts, weather events, and natural disasters that may depict sensitive events" and it is rare "that something like this occurs".

It said it will contact customers who have purchased any related clips to make them aware "of the sensitive nature of this footage".

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