The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus opens in Providence Thursday nearly a year after a tragic accident injured nine performers. Some of the acrobats are still recovering from their injuries.
Last May, during a performance in Providence, a group of eight acrobats hung by their hair some 35 feet above the stage floor. They were sent plunging to the ground when a clamp that was part of their equipment failed. The performers and one person on the ground suffered fractured legs, wrists, even necks.
Now the “human chandelier” act is no longer a part of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Steven Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, which runs the circus, said the women are still in various states of recovery.
“I do know that one of them has returned to work. She is on a different circus unit, not the one that will be coming to Providence,” said Payne. “The others I know are continuing to receive medical treatment, but we have not had any discussions with them recently.”
Several of the women injured were in danger of never walking again following the accident.
Payne said the circus has increased its safety protocols since the accident.
“For example, we’ve had a registered professional engineer look at all of our rigging and everything we that we bring to each city every week as part of our circuses,” said Payne.
Feld Entertainment recently settled a complaint from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over the accident.
Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. email@example.com