Gerard Butler Survives Accident in Surf 'Boneyard'

Actor saved from Mavericks waves while filming
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2011 12:07 AM CST
Gerard Butler Survives 'Of Mavericks and Men' Surf Accident
Evan Slater, top, surfs a giant wave over Darryl "Flea" Virostko during the first heat of the Mavericks surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(Newser) – A safety worker on a jetski saved actor Gerard Butler from dying at a northern California surf spot that has claimed the lives of pros. Butler, 42, was filming a scene at Mavericks for upcoming movie Of Men and Mavericks when a freak set of waves, some higher than 12 feet tall, hit him and the three professional surfers he was with, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The waves held Butler—an inexperienced surfer—underwater and dragged him through rocks. He was hospitalized after the rescue, then released.

"He was down at least 20, maybe 40 seconds. It’s traumatic because you’re rolling around a bunch with lots of rocks on the inside of the break—called the bone yard,” co-star Zach Wormhoudt, a pro surfer, tells the New York Daily News. "We all went through that." Butler was "pretty awesome," he says. "I was stoked that he didn’t panic. He basically acted like he’d been surfing a long time. He remained calm and kept his composure." Of Mavericks tells the tale of legendary big-wave surfer Jay Moriarty, who died in a diving accident in 2001 at the age of 22. Butler has the role of Frosty Hesson, his mentor. (Read more surfing stories.)

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