Circus show goes on despite acrobat accident - WNEM TV 5

Circus show goes on despite acrobat accident

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Photo Credit: @RinglingBros Photo Credit: @RinglingBros
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus went on Thursday night without the act that left nine performers hurt.

Circus officials held a news conference Tuesday where they said the show would go on as scheduled at the XL Center in Hartford.

The ringmaster took the time to acknowledge the incident before the show.

"We want to thank you all so very much for the overwhelming concern and your prayers and thoughts that you directed our way this week," said Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson.

Nine acrobats from the "Daring Human Chandelier Act" were injured when a clamp for a support beam snapped on Sunday. The performers plunged to the ground at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence.

Three of them remained in critical condition at a hospital in Rhode Island, officials said.

"We going to dedicate this show for them. We will dedicate the remainder of the shows to them," said Jonathan Lee Iverson, who is the ringmaster. "Our hearts are shaken but not broken though."

Although the investigation was ongoing, officials said they were pointing to a carabiner that held up the apparatus as the possible cause.

"We as a precaution have replaced all the carabiners linked to Sunday's incident," said Steven Payne, who is the vice president with Corporate Communications at Feld Entertainment

They said they had no plans to replace the act. Several other aerial acts including the trapeze and a special hot air balloon trick will go on as planned.

"The show's been around for a while so I trust that Ringling Brothers has handled it," said Crystal Bell of Hartford.

Officials said they have checked and double checked all of their equipment and believe everything is safe.

"We reinspected everything as we loaded up, and in here at Hartford, and found everything in working order and no issues," Payne said.

They also said the accident did not impact ticket sales for their Hartford shows.

"I explained to my older one what happened and I told him they removed that and there's no concerns that we have right now," said Vincent Gogluicci of Hartford.

The focus was on the recovery of their performers who were "very eager to come back," officials said.

"The amount of outreach and support and thoughts and prayers that have come in not only from the local cities, but from all over the world has been tremendous," said Nicole Feld, who is the executive vice president at Feld Entertainment.

Right now, circus leaders said they don't know if and when they will ever replace the hair hang act. They added they are just focused on the performers' recovery.

The first show began at 7 p.m. Thursday. Two shows were scheduled for Friday, three for Saturday and two more on Sunday.

Protestors were outside the XL Center before the show. They stated that the circus is cruel to animals.

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