What was supposed to be an enjoyable performance for audience members turned into tragedy on Saturday night during a Cirque du Soleil performance in Tampa, Florida.
According to CNN, 38-year-old aerialist Yann Arnaud was performing at Cirque’s show “Volta” when audience members noticed that the aerialist was struggling to hold onto the rope as he swung back and forth. Arnaud then lost his grip, causing him to plummet about 20 feet to the ground. Following the accident, he was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead just hours later.
Julian Martinez, who was in the audience when the incident occurred, told NBC News that you could hear cries from the audience after it happened. Children who witnessed the fall were “freaking out.”
Radar Online goes on to report that Arnaud had over 15 years of aerial experience under his belt at the time of the fall. In addition, the aerialist was also performing a new aerial straps routine when he fell to his death. Once news of his tragic accident spread, it was decided that the remaining two shows in Tampa would be canceled.
In a statement to NBC News, president and chief executive of Cirque, Daniel Lamarre, said that he was surprised that this accident happened to someone like Arnaud, who was so experienced. Lamarre, who flew out to Tampa to be with the performers, also went on to say that he cannot begin to describe how terrible the cast feels after witnessing such a deadly and traumatic incident.
In the 34 years that it has been around, this isn’t the first time that there has been a death of a performer at Cirque du Soleil. In fact, this is the third time that someone in the Cirque company has died during a routine.
Just a few hours before his untimely death, Arnaud took to his Instagram page to post a photo of himself introducing the new ropes act to his followers.
“After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight. It’ s time to go for it,” he wrote.
Judging by his his Instagram page, it appears that the 38-year-old really enjoyed his profession, posting many photos of himself performing as well as a handful of videos. And if he wasn’t posting photos of his Cirque acts, he was busy posting photos of his wife and kids.
Arnaud leaves behind a wife and two children.