Rob Harris (lost death footage of professional skysurfer; 1995)
Professional skysurfer Rob Harris met his tragic end on December 14, 1995, during the filming of a Mountain Dew commercial titled "007" (a James Bond spoof directed by David Kellogg and filmed by Janusz Kamiński). During a take in which Harris had jumped from 5,000 feet, his parachute lines became tangled, and he was unable to deploy his reserve in time, ultimately falling to his death.
A few months following the incident, Pepsico (the owners of Mountain Dew) asked Harris' parents for permission to broadcast a slightly modified version of the ad, containing footage comprised of Harris' previous takes. They reluctantly agreed, in the end deciding that "Rob would have wanted it, and his friends really look forward to seeing it, and so do we, now".
For a time, a rumor circulated that clips from Harris' fatal jump were included in the advertisement, but this has since been confirmed as untrue, not to mention the fact that it would have been incredibly thoughtless of the producers to have done such a thing. Several songs have been dedicated to Harris since his death, and a foundation (the Rob Harris Foundation) was created in memoriam of him. The fate of the death footage has never been revealed, though it is assumed to have either been destroyed, or confiscated by authorities.
- Snopes article on the incident. Retrieved 30 Sep '13