Skip to main content

Ringling Bros. Circus resumes performances after accident

By Neda Farshbaf and Dana Ford, CNN
updated 2:09 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed Thursday in Connecticut
  • Nine performers were injured Sunday when what's known as the human chandelier fell
  • "Our young ladies are recovering and they're in great spirits," said the ring master

(CNN) -- The show must go on.

Four days after an accident sent nine performers to the hospital, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus carried on with its "Greatest Show on Earth" in Hartford, Connecticut.

Sparkling in the spotlight, Ring Master Jonathan Lee Iverson greeted the Thursday night crowd with his usual flourish and flair, but also assured them that the injured were on the mend.

Who's responsible for circus safety?

"Our young ladies are recovering and they're in great spirits," Jonathan Lee Iverson said. "They want us to let you know, and I quote, 'They feel your prayers, they feel your thoughts, they feel your concerns, they are so grateful to you.'"

Can the circus industry be safer?

The show's producer expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of love.

"The amount of outreach and support, and thoughts and prayers that have come in, not only from the local cities here in the United States but all over the world, has just been tremendous," Nicole Feld told reporters ahead of the performance.

The horrific incident occurred Sunday, during a show in Providence, Rhode Island. Eight performers plummeted to the ground when an apparatus holding them by their hair about 30 feet in the air failed. Another performer was injured on the ground.

A first responder shared chilling details of what he saw when he arrived.

"One of the girls looked up at me and very calmly but sadly said, I can't feel my legs," Sgt. Sean Carroll of the Providence, Rhode Island, Police Department told reporters this week.

The accident was caused by a 5-inch D-ring that snapped, according to the lead investigator for the city's fire department.

Steve Payne, circus spokesman, said that an investigation is ongoing and that all the carabiners linked to the incident were replaced as a precaution.

Thursday's show did not include the hair-hanging display, also known as the human chandelier.

CNN's Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT