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Family of Colorado woman killed in reality TV pilot sues Discovery

The family of a Colorado woman who was killed during filming of a reality TV pilot for Discovery Channel has sued the producers and Discovery Communications for negligence.

Plaintiff Mel Bernstein and his daughter have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Colorado alleging that Discovery and Anthropic Productions failed to take adequate precautions to prevent the death of Terry Flanell, Bernstein's wife.

Flanell died at a shooting range in Colorado Springs last June during filming of a pilot for a proposed show called "Brothers in Arms."

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The incident was highlighted in a Los Angeles Times report earlier this year on accidents and unsafe working conditions in the burgeoning reality TV sector.

Flanell died during an opening sequence of the production when two pyrotechnic devices malfunctioned when an on-scene producer ignited them, sending missile-like metal pipes through the air as Flanell and other cast members were being filmed walking through a cloud of smoke carrying weapons.

One of the rods struck and instantly killed Flanell, who operated the Dragonman shooting range with her husband.

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The suit, filed last week, alleges that the devices had not been manufactured by a licensed manufacturer, that neither Discovery nor Anthropic had obtained a permit for their use, and that there was no licensed pyrotechnics operator on the scene.

A spokeswoman for Discovery declined to comment. A representative of Anthropic Productions could not be reached.

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