Safety commissioner says failed clamp led to circus accident

Joyce Lupiani

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Safety commissioner says failed clamp led to circus accident

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED May 5, 2014

A public safety official told a radio show this morning that investigators believe they know what caused the accident that badly injured several circus performers over the weekend in Rhode Island.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steve Pare told WPRO-AM that is appears that a clamp snapped that held a support frame to the rafters.

He also said that federal investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still trying to figure out why the clamp failed.

Three of the acrobats are still in critical condition, but none of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

The accident that sent performers hanging by their hair plummeting to the circus floor also injured several people below.

The act is part of the "Legends" show. In the act, performers "hang like a human chandelier" by their hair. The performers fell about 25 to 35 feet.

Eight of the injured performers were members of the same circus troupe.

It happened about 45 minutes into a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus performance at Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. About 3,900 people were in the crowd, including children.