Nine circus performers were seriously injured when an aerial stunt in which they hang from their hair "like a human chandelier" went wrong and sent them falling to the ground. The incident occurred at a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus show in Providence, Rhode Island.

The acrobats, all women, were taken immediately to Rhode Island Hospital, where they are in critical but not life-threatening condition. One acrobat gave the crowd a thumbs-up sign as she was being wheeled offstage to an ambulance following the fall.

“Everybody’s conscious. Everybody’s doing well," said Roman Garcia, general manager of Ringling’s Legends tour, at a news conference. "We ask everybody to pray for the girls.”

Exactly what went wrong is still being investigated, but apparently the support mechanism that was holding the women up 25-40 feet in the air gave way somehow, dropping them all onto another women who was standing on the ground below. Audience members were horrified and confused, as can be heard in the various videos now online (see below).

Upcoming performances have been canceled.

Below is the full video of the incident:

[Providence Journal]

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