TIME Accidents

9 Acrobats Seriously Injured in Circus Accident

An injured female performer is lifted onto a stretcher and is taken out of the building at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, May 4, 2014, in Providence, R.I.
An injured female performer is lifted onto a stretcher and is taken out of the building at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, May 4, 2014, in Providence, R.I. Bob Breidenbach—Providence Journal/AP

At least three performers remain in critical condition after a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus act on Sunday went awry, injuring nine people

Updated: Monday, 7:24 a.m. ET

At least three performers remain in critical condition after an aerial platform collapsed and injured nine people during a circus routine in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday.

Eight female performers fell some 25 to 40 ft. to the ground, injuring another dancer below, the Associated Press reports, during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ Legends act that has performers twirling by the hair “like a human chandelier.”

A spokesman for the circus’ parent company said the metal structure from which the acrobats were suspended broke free from its truss, although Providence’s public-safety commissioner said authorities have not officially determined the cause of the accident.

Earlier, the commissioner said none of the injuries appeared life-threatening. A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence told the AP on Sunday the hospital admitted 11 people with varying injuries, with one person in critical condition.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where the performance was taking place, put two additional shows scheduled for Sunday on hold as well as the two planned for Monday.

An audience member apparently captured footage of the accident on a cell phone, which was later published on YouTube. The video isn’t graphic, but it does contain some strong language:

[AP]

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