Cameraman whose rail disaster footage was used in Netflix film: “Inappropriate and painful”

A Flemish cameraman whose footage of the 2010 Buizingen (Flemish Brabant) rail disaster was used in a thriller produced for the on-demand entertainment platform Netflix has spoken to VRT News. Wim Robberechts shot the aerial footage two days after the disaster. He offered the images for sale to broadcasters through a press agency. The images were sold to the producer of the Netflix film by an international agency. Mr Robberechts told VRT News that their being used in this way “is painful for the victims and I will learn from this incident”.    

“My job involves my working at the behest of clients. In addition to this I build up an image bank containing footage that I have shot on my own initiative and I try to sell”.

“Two days after the accident in Buizingen on 17 February 2010, I was working in the area. I went to see how it looked from the air. It when then that I shot the footage. I stuck to all the rules and no emergency services personnel was recognisable in the film”.  

Mr Robberechts offered his footage to various Belgian media outlets. The Francophone commercial broadcaster RTL bought the footage and broadcast it in its evening television news programme.

"The day after I put the footage in my image bank, the contents of which are shared through various international image banks in France, Germany and the US”.  

Anyone that pays can use the footage.

"It is sold per second online. It can be found using general search terms such as in this case “rail disaster”. Anyone that pays, be they documentary makers or producers of fiction film have unlimited access to my footage. However, these are exceptional images that are news worthy and form the only such footage in my image bank”, the free-lance cameraman added.

Mr Robberechts is embarrassed by what has happened and has offered his apologies to the victims and their relatives.

In the past Mr Robberechts has shot aerial images for the Belgian rail company NMBS.

"This shouldn’t have happened. NMBS has accepted my apology. This hasn’t damaged my relationship with them. For me the incident is closed, although I do think that it is painful for the victims”.  

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