Ringling Bros. Acrobats Fall During Circus; Eight Performers Hospitalized

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Eight Ringling Bros. acrobats performing a “Hair Hang Act” were hospitalized following a 35-45 foot fall that stunned circus-goers in Providence, R.I.

They had been hanging by their hair from a metal structure designed to look like a “human chandelier” as part of the famed circus' acrobatic display.

Their injuries, and those of several people below, were described as not life-threatening by first responders; the nature of the injuries was uncertain.

Parents in Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center, many at first uncertain whether the fall was part of the act, rushed their children out of the show.

They soon realized a serious accident had indeed occurred. According to the Providence Journal, a circus announcer told the audience that accidents can happen.

He thanked the first responders and announced that the show, which began at about 11 a.m., would not continue as a result of the fall that took place.

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., later issued a statement explaining what caused the incident.

The metal-frame apparatus from which the performers were hanging came free from the metal truss it was connected to, the AP said, causing the fall.

The fall was not unprecedented. A 32-year-old Ringling aerial performer died in 2004 when she fell some 30 feet during a performance in St. Paul, Minn.

We wish everyone involved a prompt and full recovery.