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The moment circus platform collapsed and fell forty feet injuring 20 after acrobats were hanging by their HAIR {VIDEO}

circus

  • An acrobatic stunt went horribly wrong on Sunday during a performance by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Rhode Island 
  • Twenty people are injured after a high wire snapped and a platform - known as the Human Chandelier - collapsed 
  • The injured, including eight who fell 40 feet, have been taken to hospital - none of their injuries are believed to be life threatening

Twenty people have been injured after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at a circus performance in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground.

Nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below, while the remainder suffered minor injuries.

The accident was reported to police at about 11:45 a.m., 45 minutes into the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus' Legends show at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

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Performance gone wrong: An injured female performer is lifted onto a stretcher after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Providence

Performance gone wrong: An injured female performer is lifted onto a stretcher after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Providence

Circus turns deadly: In this photo provided by Rose Viveiros, first responders work at the center ring after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt

Circus turns deadly: In this photo provided by Rose Viveiros, first responders work at the center ring after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt

Serious injuries: As many as 20 performers were hurt when the scaffolding collapsed, dropping them between 25 and 40 feet (8 and 12 meters) to the ground

Serious injuries: As many as 20 performers were hurt when the scaffolding collapsed, dropping them between 25 and 40 feet (8 and 12 meters) to the ground

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 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.

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.

Investigating: Rhode Island state troopers and Providence police stand in the lobby of the Dunkin' Donuts Center after an accident during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance

Investigating: Rhode Island state troopers and Providence police stand in the lobby of the Dunkin' Donuts Center after an accident during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance

No show: Stacey Tracy, of Cranston, R.I., comforts her daughter Emily Tracy, 4, after she found out the 3:00 p.m. show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had been canceled

No show: Stacey Tracy, of Cranston, R.I., comforts her daughter Emily Tracy, 4, after she found out the 3:00 p.m. show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had been canceled

Smart phone footage captured by a member of the audience shows a curtain fall to reveal a platform from which a number of performers were suspended
Smart phone footage captured by a member of the audience shows a curtain fall to reveal a platform from which a number of performers were suspended

Smart phone footage captured by a member of the audience shows a curtain fall to reveal a platform from which a number of performers were suspended by their hair

Video: The moment circus platform collapsed
 
Then suddenly the platform crashes to the ground and a loud gasp of horror can be heard from the audience
Then suddenly the platform crashes to the ground and a loud gasp of horror can be heard from the audience

Suddenly the platform crashes to the ground and a loud gasp of horror can be heard from the audience

Twenty people have been injured after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at a circus performance in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground

Twenty people have been injured after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at a circus performance in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground

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

Smart phone footage captured by a member of the audience shows a curtain fall to reveal a platform from which the performers were suspended, then suddenly the platform crashes to the ground and a loud gasp of horror can be heard from the audience.

Sydney Bragg, 14, of North Kingstown, said the platform began to fall as it neared the rafters of the arena. At first, she said, she thought it was part of the act.

‘It just went crashing down,’ Sydney 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.

Ticket holders for the 3:00 p.m. show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Providence, R.I., wait in line to get a refund following the cancellation of the show after an accident at around noon on Sunday

Ticket holders for the 3:00 p.m. show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Providence, R.I., wait in line to get a refund following the cancellation of the show after an accident at around noon on Sunday

Rosa Viveiros of Seekonk, Massachusetts, said the act was covered by a curtain. 

Shortly after the curtain was pulled away, she said, the performers fell on top of at least one other performer, a man who stood up with his face bloodied. The other performers remained still, she said.

‘We thought it was part of the circus,’ said Rosa Viveiros' husband, Joe.

'Everybody’s conscious. Everybody’s doing well. We ask everybody to pray for the girls,' said Roman Garcia, general manager of the touring circus, at a news conference.

Fire department rescue units from Providence, East Providence, and Smithfield were called to assisted with the injured. The circus performances were suspended after the accident and quickly canceled.

Officials later announced that the scheduled 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances have been canceled.

Emergency personnel attend to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performers who were injured when the scaffolding they were performing from collapsed in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday

Emergency personnel attend to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performers who were injured when the scaffolding they were performing from collapsed in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday

Othello Smith of Providence said he took his young children out of the auditorium shortly after the accident. 

‘One of the performers was crying,’ he told the Providence Journal. ‘It looked pretty bad.’

‘They just dropped,’ he said. ‘It happened so fast you didn’t really believe it happened.’

The circus had arrived in town on Friday and performances were scheduled through Monday, before it moves on to Hartford, CT.

Another witness reported seeing a performer being lifted onto a gurney and as they were being wheeled towards the rescue truck, they waved to the audience and members of the audience clapped.

The incident occurred during a part of the show at the Dunkin Donuts Center which featured a team of acrobats

The incident occurred during a part of the show at the Dunkin Donuts Center which featured a team of acrobats

A circus announcer told the audience that accidents can happen in live performances and thanked the first responders for there efforts.

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.’

Rosa Viveiros, right, from Seekonk, Mass., along with her niece Lily Lannon, 9, left, describe the accident that happened during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance on Sunday

Rosa Viveiros, right, from Seekonk, Mass., along with her niece Lily Lannon, 9, left, describe the accident that happened during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance on Sunday

 

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Comment by Dexter on May 7, 2014 at 3:10pm
Lol@Big Woman, did you ever see the crazy glue commercial where the construction worker's hard had is glued to a steel beam & he's hanging from it? That's some strong stuff.
Comment by Big Woman on May 5, 2014 at 10:41pm
Stop @Dexter! Now you know you just ain't right! Lol!
Comment by lynz on May 5, 2014 at 9:47pm
I pray for their speedy recovery...so sad !
Comment by pinky on May 5, 2014 at 6:26pm
Lol hahahah Dexter I'M done hahahha
Comment by pinky on May 5, 2014 at 6:25pm
Wow I hope they OK
Comment by Dexter on May 5, 2014 at 2:41pm
You gotta have a death wish to be hanging by your hair 40ft in the air with no safety net. Sisters with weaves need not apply for this job unless you're using crazy glue.
Comment by Cee Gee on May 5, 2014 at 9:36am

Such a freaky thing to happen.  Glad no one died.  Someone could have surely broken their neck.

Comment by mr1stroke on May 5, 2014 at 9:32am

better them than the universoul circus

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