A Cirque du Soleil performer died after falling at a Tampa, Fla., show over the weekend when his hand slipped off the double rings, the theatrical company announced Sunday.
“While he was performing the aerial straps number, longtime aerialist, Yann Arnaud, fell onto the stage,” Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA said in a statement on Twitter.
The statement said that the 38-year-old fell about 20 feet. Emergency procedures were initiated, it said, and Arnaud was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries early Sunday.
“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy,” the statement said. “Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him.”
Ben Maldonado, who was in the audience when the fatal accident occurred, told WFTS, the ABC affiliate in Tampa, “They were doing a dance routine on stage and they had these streamers coming down from the roof.”
“One of the guys lost his grip and fell from the streamer down to the floor. The other performers, everybody just stopped on stage and were just pretty much in shock like we were,” he told the television station.
Following the accident, Cirque du Soleil canceled the remaining two shows of the VOLTA tour in Tampa.
Although such accidents are not common, a Cirque du Soleil dancer fell to her death in 2013 during a performance in Las Vegas after slipping out of her safety harness.