Nothing, apparently, can keep a good acrobat down.
“For me, you gotta get back up and do it again,” Samantha Pitard, one of the eight female acrobats who plummeted 25 to 30 feet to the ground while performing with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday, told the Associated Press after being released from the hospital Tuesday.
“I’m hoping to join back up with the tour and show the world that I’m okay, and I’m hoping some of the other girls will do the same,” she said.
The remaining seven injured Sunday, though still hospitalized, have all been upgraded from critical to good to serious or good condition and are expected to survive one of the worst circus accidents in memory.
“We believe that everyone is going to make a full recovery,” says Stephen Payne, spokesman for parent company Feld Entertainment.
A ninth performer, a male dancer who was injured while on the ground, also has been released from the hospital. Still under medical care are Dayana Costa, Julissa Segrere, Stefany Neves, Viktorya Medeiros, Viktoriia Liakhova, Svitlana Balanicheva and Widny Neves.
“Every single one of us in the troupe, every single circus performer, knows that they are risking their lives every time they go out there to perform or practice,” said Pitard. “We hope it doesn’t happen, but we know that we are taking that risk, and we love it enough to take that risk every day to make people happy.”
The accident occurred while the women were performing “The Medeiros Hair Hang Act,” during which hairialists perform 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!” according to Ringling’s promotional materials.
Investigators have identified the possible failure of a four-inch fastener known as a carabiner, which helped hold the human chandelier aloft, as the likely source of the accident.
Meanwhile, the Ringling Legends show will go on, with the remaining troupe opening on Thursday evening in Hartford, Connecticut. “We expect all shows to go forward as scheduled,” says Payne, “But this particular act will not be part of the show.”