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9 Ringling Brothers’ Acrobats in Critical Condition after Aerial Act Goes Wrong

VIDEO: 9 Ringling Brothers' Acrobats in Critical Condition after Aerial Act Goes Wrong

An accident at a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Rhode Island left nine acrobats in critical condition Sunday afternoon. Authorities stressed that the injuries were not life-threatening.

Officials don’t know yet what caused the accident, which occurred during what an aerial act described as a “hair-hang and motorcycle high wire act” involving at least eight members, though some sort of mechanical failure is suspected. The acrobats fell anywhere from twenty-five to forty feet.

“Everybody’s conscious,” the circus’ general manager told a local news team. “Everybody’s doing well. We ask everybody to pray for the girls.”

Several dozen emergency rescue crews responded to the scene, and the afternoon’s performance of the show has been cancelled.

“They just dropped,” one attendee said. “It happened so fast you didn’t really believe it happened.”

Update — May 5, 10:51 a.m. ET: Three acrobats remain in critical condition, with another two in serious condition, as authorities are investigating the clamp that held the large apparatus to the rafters.

Watch video of the incident below, filmed by a spectator (WARNING: Video contains disturbing images.)

Watch CNN interview a Vice President from the circus’ corporate office below:

[h/t Providence Journal]

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