Nine female performers were injured during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance Sunday morning, when a metal frame suspending eight of them collapsed, sending them crashing to the stage. The ninth woman was standing below.
Following the Providence, Rhode Island show at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center yesterday, the police held a news conference where they said some performers were in critical condition but did not sustain life-threatening injuries, according to the Dallas Morning News. The injuries included fractures, compound fractures and skull and back injuries, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré said.
“Everybody’s conscious. Everybody’s doing well. We ask everybody to pray for the girls,” said Roman Garcia, general manager of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ Legends tour.
The eight women who fell were identified by a circus spokesman Sunday night as members of the Medeiros Troupe: Viktoria Medeiros, Widny Neves, Samantha Pitard, Viktorila Liakhova, Dayana Costa, Julissa Segrera, Stefany Neves and Svitlana Balanicheva, the publication reported. Spokesman Stephen Payne declined to identify the dancer injured on the ground.
The aerialists were performing a “human chandelier,” in which six women hang by their hair around the edge of the frame about 35 feet in the air. Two other performers, connected only by their hair, were in the center of the frame, one upside-down and the other dangling from her.
The human chandelier was scheduled to be the last act before intermission at the 11 a.m. performance, which was attended by more than 3,900 people.
“During the 11am performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Legends on May 4, 2014, at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, there was an accident during the hair hang act,” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey said in a statement on its website. “All performers in the act received immediate medical attention and were transported to a local hospital for further care.”
“The 11 a.m. performance was stopped at that time,” it continued. “Performances scheduled at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on May 4 and at 10:30 a.m on May 5 have been cancelled. An investigation has begun into the cause of the accident, and no further details are available at this time.”
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