Acrobats injured in fall as circus stunt goes awry



PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island - Investigators in Rhode Island are working to figure out what went wrong during a circus performance that horrified the audience and sent nine performers in the hospital.

Every acrobat's nightmare - while dangling in the air during a Ringling Brothers performance in Providence, Rhode Island, eight performers suspended from a platform during a performance known as the "hair hang."

They plummeted to the ground, striking another performer on the floor.

“They were hanging by their hair; all the girls hanging by their hair and then it just fall to the ground and the big metal thing above them hits all of them on top of them. Falling from the roof of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center," said witness Rick Capuano.

The women were connected to the platform only by their hair, suspended up to 35- feet, when they experienced a brush with death.

"I believe there were a lot of families who were disturbed by what they saw," said Dunkin’ Donuts General Manager Lawrence Lepore,

Emergency workers rushed into the menagerie as the house lights dimmed, the audience realizing, they had just witnessed something awful. Ambulances drove into the ring, transporting the wounded performers to the hospital.

"Two girls were in neck braces and one girl was passed out and another in a full cast," said witness Lillian Lannon.

A circus spokesperson said the metal frame platform holding the acrobats came free from the metal truss it was connected to.

"I screamed. I'm like that's not right. Sometimes you're surprised and it's part of the show. But this clearly wasn't clearly wasn't. It’s really a shame," said witness Chelie Barrie.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has canceled all performances by the troupe until further notice.


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