9 Performers Hurt After High-Wire Snaps at Rhode Island Circus

Aerial performers were injured at the Barnum and Bailey Circus in Providence, R.I., May 4. (Photo: @jdubbsnk)
Aerial performers were injured at the Barnum and Bailey Circus in Providence, R.I., May 4.
(Photo: @jdubbsnk)

At least nine circus performers were seriously injured Sunday in an accident during a show in Providence, R.I., officials said.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said it was unclear exactly what happened. The New England Cable News, citing city fire officials, said a high wire snapped. The Associated Press said eight fell from a platform and another performer on the ground also was seriously injured.

The Providence Journal said several additional people may have been less seriously injured in the accident shortly before noon. The paper said the performance was halted and a Sunday afternoon scheduled performance was canceled.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus was performing at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

“Clearly something went very wrong with this apparatus,” said Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment.

Payne said the metal-frame apparatus from which the performers were hanging came free from a metal truss. The eight women fell 25 to 40 feet, landing on a dancer on the ground.

He said the fate of future shows would be determined by an investigation that the circus has begun.

“The safety of our performers is the number one priority,” he said.

Roman Garcia, general manager of Ringling’s Legends tour, told the Journal the accident occurred an act where eight women form a human chandelier hanging by their hair.

“Everybody’s conscious. Everybody’s doing well,” he said. “We ask everybody to pray for the girls.”

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Source: USA Today | John Bacon

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