SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) –- Five performers were injured when they fell from a high wire on Wednesday afternoon in Sarasota.
Eight acrobats were on the high wire at the time of the accident, including world-famous high wire performer Nik Wallenda. The performers were practicing a human pyramid act when one person lost their balance, causing the others to fall. Nik Wallenda was serving as an anchor on the pyramid but did not fall off.
Four patients were transported to a local hospital, their conditions were classified as “trauma alerts.” The four patients suffered substantial injuries, according to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson. Three of the trauma patients were transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. One trauma patient was transported to Blake Medical Center. A fifth patient was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
r-circus-fall-2-web_bkg_texThe five people who were injured fell 20 to 25 feet from a high wire at the Circus Sarasota, which is located near Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, according to a Sarasota Fire Rescue spokesperson.
Nik Wallenda was not injured, according to DSW Entertainment spokesperson Winston Simone
“Nik was on the wire and I spoke to him and he was fine. Waiting for updates, but hospital visits are precautionary,” said Simone. “The extent of injuries is unknown, but early indications are nothing serious thankfully,” he added.
Pedro Reis, who is the CEO of the Sarasota Circus Arts Conservatory said the acrobats have been practicing for an upcoming performance on Feb. 10.
“They did it flawlessly yesterday,” said Reis. “Unfortunately, accidents happen.”
Reis said the acrobats lost their balance. There was not a problem with the rigging, the rigging did not collapse.
“Our hearts go out to everybody,” said Reis, who also said, “The show must go on.”
Firefighters responded to the call around 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.
No other details about the accident have been released.
The group of acrobats was to perform in Circus Sarasota’s SYNERGY, billed as a “circus experience beyond compare.” SYNERGY is scheduled to run from Feb. 10 through early March at the Big Top located in Nathan Benderson Park behind the Mall at University Town Center.
Nik Wallenda, who is from Sarasota, is billed as the SYNERGY headliner. “Here, in his hometown of Sarasota, he will thrill audiences with a new awe-inspiring and historic performance atop the high wire,” said a press release promoting the upcoming performances.
Nik Wallenda has performed daredevil acts at Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, the skyscrapers of Chicago and at the Orlando Eye.
Stay with WFLA.com for updates about this story.