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Possible mechanical failure injures 9 circus performers

When it comes to keeping us safe on the job, we expect that if our employer knows about a danger that they will do whatever is necessary to keep us out of harm’s way. But a terrifying accident in another state this month is once again highlighting for our California readers that this isn’t always the case. It also further shows how this negligence can affect other people’s lives as well.

The serious accident to which we are referring is the one that happened this month in Providence, Rhode Island at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show. During the show, a curtain dropped to reveal eight aerialists suspended from a platform between 25 to 35 feet in the air. But seconds into the performance, the platform suddenly went crashing to the ground.

All of the eight aerialists were injured in the fall as well as another performer on the ground. Many of the performers suffered broken bones and were taken to local hospitals by ambulances. At least one of them is listed in critical condition. The conditions of the other eight aerialists are unknown.

Although the general manager for the stadium where the accident occurred vouches for Ringling’s commitment to safety and personally saw the platform being inspected, a spokesman for Ringling acknowledges that a mechanical failure could have occurred. It’s because of this fact that local law enforcement and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the matter. Regardless of whether Ringling is found to have been negligent in this accident or not, the hope is that the aerialists receive compensation for their injuries and recover completely in the end.

Sources: NBC News, “High-Wire Acrobats Injured When Ringling Bros. Circus Act Falls,” Hasani Gittens, May 4, 2014

CNN, “‘Human chandelier’ falls: 9 performers hurt in Rhode Island circus accident,” Susanna Capelouto, Mark Morgenstein and Dana Ford, May 5, 2014