Circus sets up shop after RI accident

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in Connecticut this week, just a couple of days after a terrible accident in Rhode Island that critically injured two performers.

During a performance Sunday morning in Providence nine performers in a hair-hanging act fell to the floor when a carabiner in the rigging failed.

Equipment arrives to begin setting up for Ringling Bros. circus at Hartford's XL Center, May 6, 2014.
Equipment arrives to begin setting up for Ringling Bros. circus at Hartford’s XL Center, May 6, 2014.

The circus arrived Tuesday in Hartford to set up for shows at the XL Center. The regional branch of OSHA says it will be there to check everything out ahead-of-time.

PHOTOS: Pictures from the Providence Circus Accident

The hair-hanging act won’t be a part of the Hartford shows. The performers who were injured in Providence have had their conditions upgraded to either serious or good condition, the circus said in a statement (see below).

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Almost all government rules and regulations involving circus acts started in Hartford because of the deadly circus fire back in 1944.

The circus runs Thursday through Sunday.

Here’s a statement from Ringling Bros. issued Tuesday, May 6:

The condition of several of the performers injured in the accident during the 11 a.m. performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS℠ on May 4, 2014, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI, has been upgraded. Four performers are reported to be in serious condition and four are reported to be in good condition. One performer was released earlier this week.

The cause of the accident continues to be under review by both our company and outside authorities. It has been determined that a carabiner in the rigging failed, however we do not know at this point why. Each piece of equipment used in this act is inspected when it is initially rigged and visually re-inspected prior to each performance.

At load-out last night in Providence, we re-inspected the entire rig and truss. As an additional precaution, we are replacing all carabiners on this unit. The carabiner used in the hair hang act has a load rating in excess of 10,000 pounds. The act, including the performers and equipment, weighs less than 1500 pounds. Every piece of equipment used for the hair hang display is rated for weight loads well over the total weight of the act.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®Presents LEGENDS℠ is now in Hartford, CT, and performances there will proceed as scheduled from May 8-11. The hair hang act will not be in the show.

The safety of our cast, staff and crew, as well as our guests, continues to be our highest priority. During load-in in Hartford, as per our existing protocol, all equipment will undergo a full safety inspection before performing.

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