- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2014

Eight Ringling Bros. acrobats were in the hospital Monday after falling about 35 feet during a performance in Providence, R.I.

The performers, part of the “Hair Hang Act,” had been dangling by their hair from a structure that was made to look like a “human chandelier” when they fell, The Washington Post reported.

At first, some circus-goers thought it was all part of the act. Others described the chaos, in the Providence Journal: “One of the performers was crying. It looked pretty bad. They just dropped. It happened so fast, you didn’t really believe it happened.”

When they struck the ground, “their necks went forward [and] it was awful,” said one audience member, Sydney Bragg, 14, in ABC News. “They kept the lights off so no children could see. When the lights went on, we could see them lying there.”

A spokesman for Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros., said the metal frame structure that the performers’ hair was tethered to broke free from its truss, The Associated Press reported.

Stacey Tracy, of Cranston, R.I., comforts her daughter Emily Tracy, 4, after she found out the 3 p.m. show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had been canceled, Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Providence, R.I.  A platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the 11 a.m. performance Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
Stacey Tracy, of Cranston, R.I., comforts her daughter Emily Tracy, 4, after ... more >

The acrobats’ injuries, which occurred during a Sunday morning show, were not life-threatening, The Post reported.