SARASOTA, Florida – Five performers were injured Wednesday after tumbling at least 25 feet from a high wire during a circus rehearsal in Sarasota, Florida, officials said.
Four were listed as trauma patients, according to a tweet from the Sarasota County government.
Well-known daredevil Nik Wallenda was among three performers on the wire who were not injured, according to Pedro Reis, founder and CEO of the Circus Arts Conservatory.
The incident occurred as eight performers practiced on the high wire for Circus Sarasota’s Friday show. One performer lost balance, Reis said.
Reis said the rigging did not collapse. It was not clear whether was a safety net in place.
Three performers were being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where two were listed in critical condition and one is in guarded condition, said Dr. Alan Brockhurst, medical director of the hospital’s trauma center. The three are expected to survive, he said.
“They’re extremely lucky, given the high of the fall that they survived,” Brockhurst said.
Those being treated at Sarasota Memorial suffered mostly orthopedic injuries, and there was a traumatic brain injury, Brockhurst said.
Sarasota County fire Chief Michael Regnier said one patient was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, which has a trauma center, and another performer was taken to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, also in Bradenton. He did not have information on their medical status.
Wallenda wowed audiences when he crossed tightropes over landmarks like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and the downtown Chicago skyline.