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Wounds suffered in circus disaster could include brain injury

Circuses are notable for the creation of spectacles that seem to push the boundaries of the possible. The producers of such shows are under constant pressure to come up with the next great amazing feat. Sometimes, those demands lead to situations such as the one that happened over the weekend involving the Legends tour of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

A lot of Ohio residents may be familiar with the act that was involved. The show was just in Youngstown last week according to the Covelli Centre website. What happened was that a metal frame carrying eight female aerialists hanging from their hair about 35 feet in the air came crashing to the ground. 

Officials say all the performers and one dancer on the ground were injured. All the wounds are said to be non-life threatening, but two of the injured are listed in critical condition. Officials say at least one person suffered a skull fracture, which likely means that a brain injury of some kind was suffered. And even if all the individuals do recover physically, there's a chance the experience will somehow change their lives. Compensation may be needed.

Who might ultimately be held accountable is a question now under investigation. Authorities in Providence, Rhode Island, where the disaster occurred, say early indications are that at least one circus-owned clamp that was holding the metal framework aloft snapped. Local and state officials are said to be working with investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to get to the root cause. An OSHA spokesman says it could take several weeks to conclude the investigation.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the circus says the show will go on. It is next slated for a run in Hartford, Connecticut.

Source: Providence Journal, "Update: At least 9 performers hurt in fall at Providence circus/ Video," Paul Edward Parker, May 5, 2014

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