Cirque du Soleil co-founder's son dies before show in SF

Accident kills Cirque du Soleil employee
Accident kills Cirque du Soleil employee

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Story highlights

  • Technician who was son of Cirque cofounder, dies before show in San Francisco
  • Accident is under investigation by SF Police and state OSHA

San Francisco (CNN)The son of a Cirque du Soleil co-founder was struck by a lift and died from his injuries while working on the "Luzia" show Tuesday.

The incident involving Olivier Rochette, a Cirque du Soleil technician, occurred around 6:43 p.m., about an hour before the evening show in San Francisco. Rochette was hit by a telescopic lift and taken to a local hospital, according to the company and police.
    The San Francisco Police Department and the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal-OSHA, are investigating the incident.
    Rochette's father, Gilles Ste-Croix, co-founded Cirque du Soleil with Guy Laliberté in 1984.
    "I am heartbroken," said Daniel Lamarre, CEO of Cirque du Soleil in a statement. "I wish to extend in my name and in the name of all Cirque du Soleil employees my sincerest sympathies and offer my full support to Gilles and his family. Olivier has always been a member of our tight family and a truly beloved colleague."
    The Tuesday and Wednesday performances in San Francisco were canceled. "Luzia" opened in the city earlier this month and is scheduled to run until the end of January.
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    The death could bring more scrutiny about safety at the company.
    This isn't the first time someone working on the show has been involved in an accident. In 2009, a Cirque du Soleil performer Oleksandr Zhurov died after falling from a trampoline during training. In 2013 Cirque performer Sarah Guillot-Guyard plunged to the floor after the wire rope from which she was suspended broke. The aerialist fell nearly 100 feet to her death in front of an audience at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.
    Earlier this week, a former Olympic gymnast fell face first about 16 feet during a Cirque du Soleil performance in Brisbane, according to 7 News, a CNN affiliate in Australia. She suffered a fracture to her neck and a broken arm, but was reported to be in good condition.