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2 Acrobats Possibly Paralyzed in Horrifying Ringling Bros. Mishap in RI

Nine performers were hurt during a performance at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence Sunday.

A shot of the "human chandelier" stunt in Providence Sunday moments before eight acrobats plummeted to the ground. Credit: WHDH/7News
A shot of the "human chandelier" stunt in Providence Sunday moments before eight acrobats plummeted to the ground. Credit: WHDH/7News
Rhode Island Hospital officials said two acrobats hurt in a horrifying mishap at a Ringling Bros. performance in Providence Sunday could be paralyzed.

The two patients suffered serious spinal fractures and could not move their legs when they were transported to the hospital, hospital officials said during a news conference Wednesday morning.

The acrobats were injured while performing a "human chandelier" stunt at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The eight performers hung by their hair from a suspended apparatus. Authorities said a clamp snapped and sent the women plummeting to the ground from as high as 40 feet.

All eight acrobats were injured. A performer on the ground was also hurt. Two have been discharged from the hospital. The rest are expected to survive.

Four acrobats remained in serious condition Wednesday, officials said. Their injuries included broken bones, fractures, and lacerations. The most seriously injured acrobat suffered a spinal fracture, abdominal injury, and lacerated liver.

Hospital officials said it could take up to a year to determine the prognosis of the two acrobats who suffered spinal fractures. They said their youth and high fitness level will help their recoveries.

Rhode Island Hospital President Tim Babineau said the acrobats are "truly inspirational."

Each has shown "courage, a positive attitude, and the strong desire to get better quickly," he said.
Tom Badger May 07, 2014 at 11:29 AM
this should have never happened .
Stanley Martin May 07, 2014 at 12:07 PM
Thanks for your comment Captain Obvious..
Linda Zanghetti Sherman May 07, 2014 at 06:02 PM
I am unclear how/why this is BREAKING NEWS or if even accurate. Heard a radio report today that was quite upbeat saying all performers were recovering nicely. Not sure what the truth is, but his article screams media sensationalism, to me anyway.
Tom Badger May 07, 2014 at 06:07 PM
of course Stanley Martin you were never an OSHA/EPA safety officer like myself .
Stanley Martin May 08, 2014 at 04:57 PM
Actually Tom I was. I also have a masters degree in occupational safety. You want so more pats on the back!!!!!

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