WATCH: Performers fall from the sky in horrific circus accident (GRAPHIC)
At least nine performers in a Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' Legends show were seriously injured after a support platform at their Providence, Rhode Island location collapsed on Sunday. The incident happened during an aerial stunt about 45 minutes into the show, sending the performers crashing to the ground and leaving the audience unsure at what they were seeing.
Police say members of the audience--which consisted of about 3,900 people, including many children--initially thought the accident was part of the act and were left stunned and horrified when the performers hit the ground. Some even unwittingly captured the moment on camera, as can be seen in the graphic video below. Now, authorities are trying to determine what caused the support frame to fall.
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According to general manager of the Legends show, all of the injured acrobats were hanging from their hair when the platform collapsed, sending them falling 25 to 40 feet. At least three of the injured remained in critical condition this morning, but all are reportedly conscious and expected to survive.
The Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said officials and inspectors haven't yet determined what caused the accident. Investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration also were to begin investigating the accident.
Later shows scheduled for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday and 10:30 a.m. Monday were canceled.
What a horrific accident. It's a miracle that everyone involved in the act at the time even survived such a drastic fall. Personally, I've always found watching those shows more anxiety-inducing than enjoyable and though these accidents are usually few and far in between, they only serve to remind everyone how dangerous these performers' jobs really are. I only hope that all the injured have a speedy recovery. My thoughts are with all of them!
Image via Alexander Wood/Twitter