ABC News’ John Schriffen reports:
A stuntman who suffered critical – and likely career-ending – injuries when a motorcycle stunt he was performing in California for a movie promotion went horribly awry plans to file a lawsuit against the production company, he told ABC News.
Mike Gaboff, 25, of Millstone, N.J., was supposed to ride his motorcycle up a ramp, through glass and land in an adjacent lake. Instead, the motorcycle overshot the pond and Gaboff fell from six stories high onto the hard ground.
“I’m like, ‘I’m about to die,’” Gaboff, who’s known as “Crazy Mike,” told ABC News. “That’s how I felt.”
Gaboff broke his lower back, pelvis, neck, both arms, ribs, collar bone, and also suffered collapsed lungs and second-degree burns in the April 21incident. In the hospital doctors told him he was lucky to be alive.
Gaboff was shooting the stunt for a promotional video to promote the DVD release of the Nicholas Cage movie “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” In the video for the DVD, released today, it appears Gaboff’s stunt went off without a hitch.
It was only in an amateur video posted on YouTube that viewers see what really happened, Gaboff slamming into the hard-packed dirt on the far side of the lake as clouds of dust erupt around him.
Gaboff now says he had a bad feeling about the stunt before it happened, saying “everything” he saw on the set made him feel unsafe.
“I’m just like, ‘this is sketchy,’” he said. “The lake was so short and I’m like, ‘I’ve got this big…motorcycle and I’m supposed to jump this eight-foot ramp into this little pond? Are you serious?’”
In a statement to ABC News, Break Media disputed Gaboff’s version of events.
“[Gaboff was hired] as an independent third party and was fully responsible for the design and execution of the stunt. Any claims to the contrary are false…”
Gaboff is now home recuperating after spending two months in a California hospital. His more than $1 million in medical expenses will not be covered, he says, because he was working as an independent contractor.
He told ABC News he plans to take legal action and says he only went through with the stunt because he did not want to let the production company down.
“I learned the beauty of life,” he says of the experience. “It’s not about stunts.”
Sony Pictures, the company behind the “Ghost Rider” movie, issued a statement to ABC News saying, “We have not seen the filing yet but we are actively investigating the situation at this time.”