Death-defying Act Goes Wrong: What Does Future Hold for Circus Performances?


(NECN: Justin Michaels, Providence, RI) - There is an active investigation Monday morning into just what went wrong after nine were injured in a high wire accident at Ringling Bros. Circus on Sunday.

Monday's 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. performances have been canceled.

The eight women who were part of the "human chandelier" stunt were seriously injured when the contraption they were hanging from gave way.

A man on the ground was also hurt.

The acrobats were suspended as high as 40 feet off the ground when they came falling down.

The nine injured were conscious as first responders gave them medical attention.

Many people initially thought the accident was part of the show.

Arena lights went dark to try to shield the public from what happened. Many families were disturbed by what they saw.

"The response time was very good. I just hope they're alright. The last girl that they did take out of the arena, she did have her hand waving to say that she was okay," said one spectator.

Of the eight performers who fell, three are still listed in critical condition. Two are listed in serious condition. Three others are listed in good condition.

"Everybody didn't realize it at first that it was an accident. They thought it might be part of the show, but they soon realized it was an accident," added another who was in attendance.

The circus is owned by Feld Entertainment.

The Dunkin Donuts Center says the circus has their own riggers.

Refunds are available at at the Dunkin Donuts Center website.   

The circus has been coming to Providence for more than 40 years. Officials say there won't be another performance until they determine it's safe.

"Within the next 24 hours, I believe that, with the help of OSHA, the state and local officials will have a good idea of what failed and what needs to be changed for not only this performance, but performances going forward," said Dunkin Donuts Center GM Lawrence Lepore.

Information regarding future shows and scheduling can be found at the Ringling Bros. website.

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