VIDEO: Aerial performers injured during circus act in RI - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

VIDEO: Aerial performers injured during circus act in RI

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Several aerial performers fell during a circus at in Providence, RI, on Sunday. (Source: CNN) Several aerial performers fell during a circus at in Providence, RI, on Sunday. (Source: CNN)
Nine circus performers are injured in a mishap during a hair-hanging routine. (Source: CNN) Nine circus performers are injured in a mishap during a hair-hanging routine. (Source: CNN)

PROVIDENCE, RI (RNN) - Circus performances in Providence, RI, were suspended on Sunday after an aerial act went wrong.

According to the Providence Journal, several performers with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were performing an eight-person hair-hanging and motorcycle high wire act when they fell to the ground at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday, striking a dancer below.

Reports say 11 people were admitted to Rhode Island Hospital and one patient is in critical condition. The acrobats fell about 20 to 40 feet, according to The Associated Press.

Those watching the show were stunned at what they witnessed.

"Well it took me maybe a good 35 seconds just to finally realize what just happened, and the entire place was in complete chaos at that time," Sean Bergeron, a witness, told CNN.

Othello Smith told the Providence Journal that performers were doing an aerial act on ropes or cables and then dropped.

A video filmed by an apparent attendee to the circus shows the accident. WARNING: The video may be disturbing to some.

The video shows an umbrella-shaped rig lifting the women in the air when it suddenly plummets to the ground. Performers seemed stunned and a gasp can be heard from the crowd.

Fire department rescue units were on the scene at the time of the incident.

"This apparatus has been used for multiple performances each week since this show launched back in January. Each and every time that we come to a new venue, all of the equipment that's used by this group of performers as well as all the other performers is carefully inspected," Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications at Feld Entertainment, said in an interview with CNN. Feld Entertainment is a production company that operates the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have been a part of Feld Entertainment since 1967. They set the stage for Feld Entertainment to become its own company.

According to the AP, a Ringling aerial performer died after falling 30 feet during a performance in St. Paul, MN. It was the first accidental death involving a Ringling performer in 10 years.

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