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VIDEO: Ringling Bros. acrobats hospitalized after terrifying plunge

Witness: They just dropped.
By Matt Bradwell   |   May 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM  |  Updated May 4, 2014 at 3:05 PM   |   Comments

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PROVIDENCE, R.I., May 4 (UPI) -- At least nine performers are seriously injured after falling up to 40 feet during a botched performance at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus' Legends show in Providence, R.I.

The accident occurred Sunday morning during a stunt circus spokeswoman Melinda Hartline described as the "Human Chandelier." Police say nine of the performers are in critical condition with non-life-threatening injuries.

Witness Othello Smith described to the Providence Journal what he saw:

One of the performers was crying. It looked pretty bad.

They just dropped. It happened so fast you didn't really believe it.

Another spectator caught the accident on tape:

In a news conference earlier, Roman Garcia, general manager of the current Ringling Bros. tour, made the following statement: “Everybody’s conscious. Everybody’s doing well. We ask everybody to pray for the girls.”

Although rare, this is not the first serious incident for the world-renowned circus. In 2004 a Ringling Bros. acrobat perished after dropping 30 feet during a performance in St. Paul, Minn.

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