Acrobats critically injured in circus collapse
RAW VISION: Video captures the moment a circus apparatus falls to the ground with more than a half dozen acrobats still tethered to it. WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES.PT0M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37qzd 620 349 May 5, 2014
A platform has collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at a circus performance in the US, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground.
Nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below, while an unknown number of others suffered minor injuries.
The accident was reported to police on Sunday morning (local time), 45 minutes into the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus' Legends show at the Dunkin' Donuts Centre in Providence, Rhode Island.
Collapse: nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, Photo: Reuters
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 7-12 metres, landing on a dancer on the ground.
Performers hang form their hair while performing the stunt that went wrong. Photo: AP
All the performers have been doing "some variation of this act for some time", Payne said, though he did not know how long.
Officials and inspectors have not yet determined what caused the accident.
None of the injuries appears to be life-threatening, officials said.
Rhode Island Hospital in Providence admitted 11 patients with varying injuries, including one in critical condition, spokeswoman Jill Reuter said.
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.