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OTRC: Gerard Butler survives surfing accident, treated at hospital

Gerard Butler talks to OnTheRedCarpet.com at the premiere of 'Machine Gun Preacher' in September 2011.

Gerard Butler recently survived a potentially fatal surfing accident while filming the movie "Of Men and Mavericks" in Northern California.

On the afternoon of Sunday, December 18, the 42-year-old Scottish "300" actor was held under the waves at the real Maverick's Point, a popular break located near Half Moon Bay, and then rescued by firefighters. He was then taken to a local hospital for observation and released later in the day, according to the San Mateo County Times.

ESPN photojournalist Frank Quirarte witnessed the rescue.

"One of the film crew's radios cracked - they were "bringing Gerry (Butler) in," he wrote on the sports website. "No sooner did I hear the transmission then a jet-ski and Zodiac turned the corner at the Half Moon Bay harbor mouth. They were coming in fast. I ran down to the dock, helped tie off the Zodiac and noticed Butler on board."

"He had that 100-yard stare that surfers get after a two-wave hold-down or near-death experience," Quirarte added. "After almost 20 years at Maverick's, I've seen a lot of it but it was good to see he was standing on his own two legs."

Butler's spokesperson had no immediate comment about the weekend incident. Local surfer Zach Wormhoudt told ESPN that a large group of waves had caught Butler and others off-guard and "mowed them all down."

This is not the first time Butler suffered an accident while filming a movie. He told OnTheRedCarpet.com that he was hit with stray bullet casings while shooting "Machine Gun Preacher," which hit theaters in September.

In August, Butler showed off a slimmer look at the Toronto International Film Festival. He later told People magazine he was "prepping for a surf movie" and was "surfing every day for 'Maverick's.'"

Film crews have been shooting scenes for "Of Men and Mavericks" near the area during the last few weeks. The movie focuses on Santa Cruz surfer Jay Moriarity, portrayed by real life professional Jonny Weston. Butler plays his mentor, Rick "Frosty Hesson." The real Moriarity died at age 21 in 2001 during a diving accident in the Indian Ocean.

"Of Men and Mavericks" also stars Abigail Spencer and Elisabeth Shue and is set for release in October 2012.

Maverick's Point is named after a dog named Maverick. The German Shepherd is said to have charged after surfers Alex Matienzo, Jim Thompson and Dick Notmeyer as they paddled out to test the waves off of Pillar Point Harbor in 1958.

"Although he was promptly returned to shore and secured to a car bumper, the courageous pup's feisty spirit did not go unrecognized," according to the break's website. "After a day of grappling with a wave they eventually deemed far too dangerous for mere mortals, the three surfing pioneers named the break Maverick's Point."

Butler began his on-screen career in the late 1990s after previously working as a lawyer in his native Scotland. His breakout roles came in 2004, when he played the villain in the musical film "The Phantom of the Opera" and in 2006, when he starred in the fantasy action blockbuster "300."

In addition to "Of Men and Mavericks," Butler is also filming the 2013 movie "Thunder Run," which depicts the capture of Baghdad by U.S. forces during the Iraq war and also stars Matthew McConaughey and Sam Worthington.

Butler is also set to star in "Hunter Killer," another war-themed film set to hit theaters next year, and reprise his voice role of Stoick the Vast in "How To Train Your Dragon 2," which is due to be released in 2014.

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