5 Flying Wallendas Hurt After Falling 25 Ft. During Rehearsal for Nik Wallenda's Latest High-Wire Stunt
"It's tragic. It's horrible. It's a nightmare," Nik Wallenda said of the incident
Five performers were rushed to Florida hospitals on Wednesday after tumbling at least 25 feet from a high-wire while rehearsing for a show with famed daredevil Nik Wallenda.
The performers were attempting an eight-person pyramid during a practice session in Sarasota, Florida, when they lost balance and fell to the ground, Pedro Reis with the Circus Arts Conservatory told NBC.
“It’s tragic. It’s horrible. It’s a nightmare, but the Wallendas are – we’ll get through it. That’s what we’ve done in the past and that’s what we’re gonna do,” Wallenda said during an interview with NBC.
Six men and two women were part of the act, and Wallenda said he was among the three who were “able to catch the wire” and avoid falling.
“We had a guy today fall 28 feet – he was on the lower level – and he literally got up and walked out of the tent,” Wallenda told NBC.
He said all of the performers are expected to recover, adding, “There were angels surrounding us.”
Nik Wallenda Discusses Being Prepared for the Worst
Four of the victims suffered traumatic injuries, with one requiring surgery in Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s ICU, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Reis insisted to the Sentinel that the fall was not due to rigging. Despite a majority of the opening performers being hospitalized, Reis said Friday’s Circus Sarasota show will continue as planned.
“The show must go on,” he said.
Of the three performers being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, two were listed in critical condition and one was listed in guarded condition on Wednesday, CNN reports. Dr. Alan Brockhurst told the site that all three are expected to survive.
“They’re extremely lucky, given the height of the fall that they survived,” Brockhurst said.
Wallenda told NBC that there is “no question” that he’ll continue the stunt.
“It’s what our family’s been based on for 200 years and seven generations,” he said. “This is our legacy.”
In 1962, two members of the Flying Wallendas group died and another was paralyzed after a performer lost his balance during an attempt at a seven-person pyramid in Detroit, CNN reports.Years later, in 1978, Karl Wallenda died on a high-wire walk between two towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the site.