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Circus accident injures 9 acrobats

Questions remain about a terrible accident that took place during a performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on May 4. Nine performers were injured while attempting a stunt that involves hanging from an apparatus by their hair. The stunt failed, and the performers fell 20 feet to the ground.

Two of the injured performers were still in serious condition as of May 8. Doctors said that two suffered spinal cord injuries and may not walk again. It is not clear if they were referring to the two in serious condition.

The accident happened as the acrobats were attempting the “human chandelier” stunt. The trick involves the performers hanging by their hair from a suspended apparatus. While performing the stunt on May 4, a clip at the top of the apparatus apparently broke, causing it to drop the performers. How this clip failed is not yet known, according to federal inspectors and representatives from Ringling Bros.

Emergency responders rushed to the scene, where nine acrobats were injured. Besides the two in serious condition, two were in fair condition, one was released from the hospital in May 6 and three did not want their conditions made public. The condition of the ninth victim is not clear.

The circus resumed performing in a new city, four days after this workplace accident. However, officials said that they would not be performing the human chandelier, at least for now.

This terrible incident is likely not the sort of thing that can happen where most of our readers work. But more common workplaces, like oil pipelines or offices, can also be the site of a debilitating accident.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “While injured acrobats recover, circus goes on,” May 8, 2014

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