VIDEO: Circus performers injured in fall in Ringling Bros. act - WNCN: News, Weather

VIDEO: Circus performers injured in fall in Ringling Bros. act

Posted: Updated:

A platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at a circus performance Sunday in Providence, R.I., sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground. Nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below; while an unknown number of others suffered minor injuries.

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

The performers fell when a platform collapsed during an aerial act at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at about 11:45 a.m. One dancer below was also injured.

A circus spokesman said the performers fell from a height of 25 to 40 feet.

A circus spokesman 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 it was connected to. The eight women fell 25 to 40 feet, landing on a dancer on the ground.

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

The circus issued a statement that said in part, "All performers in the act received immediate medical attention and were transported to a local hospital for further care. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured. We hope for them a speedy recovery."

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.

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

"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."

The Associated Press quotes Sydney Bragg, 14, of North Kingstown, saying, “The platform began to fall as it neared the rafters of the arena.” At first Bragg thought it was part of the act. "It just went crashing down," Bragg said. "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.

Circus shows scheduled for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on May 4 have been canceled. Ticket refunds are available at the point of sales. Ticketmaster orders will be refunded automatically.

There is no announcement yet about the performances scheduled for Monday, May 5.

The show is what Ringling Bros. calls the Legends tour, or the All-New Blue Tour.

The tour is scheduled to be in Raleigh at PNC Arena in February.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

  • U.S.More>>

  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:07:39 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...
  • House approves VA health care overhaul

    House approves VA health care overhaul

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:18:36 GMT
    With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is moving quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care.
    The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill Wednesday to help veterans avoid long waits for health care that have plagued the Veterans Affairs Department for years.
  • Probe exposes flaws behind HealthCare.gov rollout

    Probe exposes flaws behind HealthCare.gov rollout

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:09 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:09:01 GMT
    Officials tell The Associated Press that a nonpartisan investigative report concludes that management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer problems that paralyzed the HealthCare.gov...
    Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for computer woes that paralyzed the president's new health care program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in a report released Wednesday.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.