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Monday, May 05, 2014

Three 'hairialist' acrobats remain in critical condition

BBC News online -- 5 May 2014
The incident happened in front of a full house

Three people remain in critical condition in hospital after a group of women acrobats fell from an aerial platform at a circus in the US state of Rhode Island on Sunday.

Eight acrobats plummeted up to 12m (40ft) when the scaffolding structure holding them collapsed.
The performers, from the US, Brazil, Bulgaria and Ukraine, were in the middle of a hair-hanging high-wire act.

Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the accident.
Acrobats Dayana Costa, Julissa Segrera and Stefany Neves remain in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press news agency.

Performers hang during an aerial hair-hanging stunt The performers fell during an aerial hair-hanging stunt, as captured in Friday's performance
Viktoriya Medeiros and Viktorila Liakhova have been listed in serious condition, while performers Samantha Pitard, Svitlana Balanicheva and Widny Nevas are now considered in good condition.
The names and conditions of three other people hurt were not released.

The collapse occurred during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey show act in the eight performers hung from their hair "like a human chandelier", according to the circus.

According to the circus website, the eight performers, known as "hairialists", feature in a "larger-than-life act... spinning, hanging from hoops, and rolling down wrapped silks all while being suspended 35ft in the air by their hair alone".

The metal frame from which the acrobats hung is said to have come free from a metal truss, a circus spokesman told US media.

"It just went crashing down... Everyone was freaking out. We heard this huge clatter and then we just heard the girls scream," witness Sydney Bragg, 14, told the Associated Press news agency.
Further performances were cancelled on Sunday and Monday as the circus worked with federal and local officials.

"We want to make sure all of our performers are safe," Stephen Payne, a spokesman Ringling Bros. parent company Feld Entertainment, said.

"An accident like this is unprecedented involving this number of performers," he added. "We're just grateful that as of now, none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening."

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