Circus to resume performances in Hartford after fall - FOX Carolina 21

Circus to resume performances in Hartford after fall

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As of Monday night, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will be hold a show in Hartford on Thursday despite an accident that injured nine performers.

Circus officials were trying to figure out if a snapped clamp to a metal support beam caused acrobats to crash to the ground in Providence.

It happened during a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus show at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Sunday.

Nine performers were hurt, three critically, according to officials.

"I would have been certain that there would have been fatalities," said Brad King, an eyewitness. "It didn't look good at all. They fell from really high."

Close to 4,000 people were in attendance, many of them children.

The acrobats for Fled Entertainment, the circus's parent company, were hanging by their hair high above the ground for the "Daring Human Chandelier Act" when it happened.

"All the girls were hanging by their hair," said Rick Capuano, an eyewitness. "And then it just falls to the ground and the big metal thing above them hits all of them on top of them."

After that accident, the circus canceled the rest of the performances in Providence, but it will start back up in Connecticut on Thursday.

Now safety has become a top priority after the accident. Connecticut officials only check the venue and deal with crowds, but they don't deal with the circus.

"The local fire marshal's office doesn't get involved in the safety equipment with the venue," said Hartford Fire Captain James McLaughlin. "Because it's out our jurisdiction."

The Hartford Fire Department would get involved along with the Connecticut State Police if something went wrong.

A circus spokesperson told Eyewitness News they have an entire safety crew that travels with the circus to make sure the proper steps are taken.

A spokesperson for Fled said the performers had been practicing the act for quite some time. The act involved the performers hanging by their hair alone while performing complicated choreography.

The circus posted a statement that said it would refund tickets of all shows at the point of purchase.

An investigation was underway.

"Within the next 24 hours, I believe that with the help of OSHA, state and local officials, we'll have a good idea of what failed," said Lawrence Lepore, General Manager of the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

The show in Hartford starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.

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