In a tragic circus accident today at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus’ Legends show at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, eight acrobats and a dancer were seriously injured when a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt.
In the accident, which took place at around 11:45 a.m., the eight acrobats fell 25-40 feet and onto a fellow performer on the floor below (who was the ninth person to be seriously injured in the incident).
Even though the injuries are serious, they are not apparently life threatening; the Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare confirmed that inspectors are trying to ascertain what led to the platform collapse in the hope of averting a similar incident in the future.
A spectator at the show, 14-year-old Sydney Bragg from North Kingstown, told reporters that the circus accident happened around 90 minutes into the show: “It just went crashing down. Everyone was freaking out. We heard this huge clatter and then we just heard the girls scream,” she said.
She added that spotlights were beaming at the time of the accident, but went out following the collapse. Rosa Viveiros of Seekonk, Mass., another spectator at the circus, told reporters that the act was covered by a curtain, and that the curtain was apparently pulled away as the performers fell onto at least one other performer, who was left standing with a bloodied face in the aftermath of the collapse.
Obviously, the upcoming shows scheduled for Sunday and Monday are on hold until inspectors have carried out all their investigations.
Anyone with tickets for those performances, and possibly for performances later in the week, has been urged to contact the outlet from which they purchased their tickets to arrange for a refund, or to re-schedule their tickets for a later performance.