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Circus Performers Injured During Fall at Show in Rhode Island

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Image(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- A day at the circus turned into a horror show in Providence, Rhode Island, Sunday as spectators watched eight aerial performers fall 30 feet to the ground, seriously injuring themselves and a dancer.

Two of the performers remain in critical condition while three are in serious condition, according to hospital officials. None of the injuries are said to be life-threatening.

One performer has been released and the remaining three are in good condition.

Meanwhile, no spectators were hurt during the performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Providence's Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

According to a statement from Ringling Brothers on Monday, a carabiner in the rigging that hoisted the aerial performers failed.

"It has been determined that a carabiner in the rigging failed, however we do not know at this point why. Determining why is critical to identifying the next step in this process," it said in the statement.

Ringling Brothers said the performers were involved in a routine called the hair act, in which they hang by their hair from the rigging.

The Dunkin' Donuts Center was packed with 4,000 adults and children at the time of the accident, which took place about 45 minutes into the 11 a.m. show. Although there were screams when the performers hit the ground, at least one person could be heard saying, "Were they supposed to fall like that?" The rest of the day's shows were cancelled.

Ringling Brothers says the hair act will not be included in its next round of shows taking place in Hartford, Connecticut.

The incident is under investigation, and Ringling Brothers says "other aerial acts will undergo a full safety inspection before performing."


ABC US News | ABC Business News

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