Acrobats injured in fall as circus stunt goes awry - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Acrobats injured in fall as circus stunt goes awry

Posted: Updated:
Performers hang during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Friday, May 2, 2104, in Providence, R.I. Performers hang during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Friday, May 2, 2104, in Providence, R.I.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Authorities are trying to determine what caused a support frame to collapse during an aerial hair-hanging stunt during a circus performance, sending eight acrobats crashing to the ground.

Nine performers were seriously injured during Sunday's performance by Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, including a dancer below. Several others suffered less serious injuries.

See more photos HERE.

The accident was reported about 45 minutes into the circus' 11 a.m. Legends show. It was witnessed by an audience of about 3,900, many of them children.

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., said the accident happened during an act in which eight performers hang "like a human chandelier" using their hair.

He said the metal-frame apparatus from which the performers were hanging came free from the metal truss to which it was connected. The eight women fell 25 to 40 feet, landing on the dancer below.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said officials and inspectors haven't yet determined what caused the accident. He said none of the injuries appears to be life-threatening.

Investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration also were to investigate the accident.

Rhode Island Hospital in Providence admitted 11 patients with varying injuries, including one in critical condition, spokeswoman Jill Reuter said.

Roman Garcia, general manager of the Legends show, asked people to pray for the performers.

"Everybody's doing fine, everybody's at the hospital, everybody's conscious, everybody's doing pretty well," he said at the Dunkin' Donuts Center less than two hours after the accident.

The hair-hanging stunt is described on the circus' website as a "larger-than-life act" featuring eight female performers.

Payne said all the performers have been doing "some variation of this act for some time," though he didn't know how long. The current incarnation of the act began in January with the launch of the show, he said.

"These 'hairialists' perform a combination of choreography and cut-ups including spinning, hanging from hoops, and rolling down wrapped silks, all while being suspended 35 feet in the air by their hair alone," the website says. "In this hair-raising act, audiences will even see the weight of three girls held aloft by the locks of only one of these tangled beauties."

Video taken by audience members shows a curtain dropping to reveal several performers hanging from an apparatus suspended from above. Seconds later, as they begin to perform, the women fall, and the metal apparatus lands on them.

"It just went crashing down," said audience member Sydney Bragg, 14, of North Kingstown. "Everyone was freaking out. We heard this huge clatter and then we just heard the girls scream."

She said spotlights were on the performers at the time, but all the lights went out after the fall.

Rosa Viveiros of Seekonk, Massachusetts, said she saw that the acrobats had fallen on top of at least one other performer below, a man who stood up with his face bloodied. The acrobats remained still and did not get up, she said.

"We thought it was part of the circus," said her husband, Joe.

The couple attended the circus with their 6-year-old grandson and 9-year-old niece.

"Everyone was in shock," Rosa Viveiros said. "It was pretty overwhelming to see that."

The circus began performances in Providence on Friday. The Dunkin' Donuts Center canceled a show for 10:30 a.m. Monday and two shows on Sunday were canceled.

Feld Entertainment said in a news release that officials "appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers for our performers, and we are sharing all of those with them as they recover."

A Ringling Bros. aerial performer was killed in 2004 in St. Paul, Minnesota, when she was twirling 30 feet in the air on long chiffon scarves and the material gave way.

___

Associated Press writers Josh Cornfield in Philadelphia and Jessica Gresko in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Migrant teens from Central America to be housed in Farmington Hills

    Migrant teens from Central America to be housed in Farmington Hills

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:10 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:10:56 GMT
    Illegal immigrant teens from Central America to be housed in Farmington HillsTwenty-four illegal immigrant teens from Central America will soon be housed at Wellspring Lutheran Services in Farmington Hills, which has secured a federal contract. The immigration issue is a major one, and what seemed far, far away is now coming closer and closer to home."We've been watching this for six, eight weeks now, now it's Michigan," said William Largent, president and CEO of Meskwaki. the business arm of...
    Illegal immigrant teens from Central America to be housed in Farmington HillsTwenty-four illegal immigrant teens from Central America will soon be housed at Wellspring Lutheran Services in Farmington Hills, which has secured a federal contract. The immigration issue is a major one, and what seemed far, far away is now coming closer and closer to home."We've been watching this for six, eight weeks now, now it's Michigan," said William Largent, president and CEO of Meskwaki. the business arm of...
  • VIDEO: Witness says man roughed up by Clinton Township police, hospital security

    VIDEO: Witness says man roughed up by Clinton Township police, hospital security

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:25 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:25:38 GMT
    In a video spreading across social media, a Michigan man says police and hospital security roughed up a man.
    In a video spreading across social media, a Michigan man says police and hospital security roughed up a man.
  • Large two truck crash closes I-75, second accident nearby

    Large two truck crash closes I-75, second accident nearby

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:57 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:57:29 GMT
    A crash involving two semi trucks shut down I-75 tonight, according to Michigan State Police.
    A crash involving two semi trucks shut down I-75 tonight, according to Michigan State Police.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices