Nine injured after Ringling Bros. accident

BY Kayla Ruble  May 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM EDT

Eight acrobats fell to the ground after the platform they were hanging from by their hair collapsed during a circus performance in Rhode Island on Sunday, leaving nine performers seriously injured.

The accident occurred 45 minutes into a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Legends Show at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in providence during a stunt where the performers hang from a metal apparatus by their hair.

The eight hanging women fell between 25 and 40 feet, landing on top of a dancer on the ground below.

None of the injuries appeared to be life threatening. 11 patients were admitted to Providence’s Rhode Island Hospital after the incident.

Officials have not determined the cause of the accident, according to Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare.

On the circus’ website, these performers are called “hairialists” and the stunt is described as “a combination of choreography and cut-ups including spinning, hanging from hoops, and rolling down wrapped silks, all while being suspended 35 feet in the air by their hair alone.”

The stunt was introduced in January when the new Ringling Brothers show began. According to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Ringling Brothers’ parent company, Stephen Payne, said all of the women had been performing the act “for some time.”

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center cancelled two other shows that had been set for Sunday.