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Ringling Bros. Circus accident: Performers drop to ground, show cancelled

Accident at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Kelly Annis Facebook

An accident at the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI was reported by an onlooker on May 4, 2014. The show, and an upcoming show at 3 p.m., was cancelled due to the accident.

The show started at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Approximately an hour later, Kelly Annis of Cranston, RI reported on Facebook that there was a "terrible accident" in which nine women dropped during an act from high "up in the air" to the ground. According to Annis, the women were doing an acrobatic performance and during the act, the staging from the rafters came apart and the women fell to the ground.

Minutes later, paramedics arrived on the scene, something Annis thought was part of the show. The lights went out and those who attended sat and watched the emergency unfold until the crowd was told to go home.

A photo posted by Annis on Facebook (left) shows the scene at the circus, with paramedics crowded around the performers who were injured or killed in the fall.

"OMG just saw a terrible accident at the circus. 6-8 girls dropping from up in the air!!! I hope every one of them are OK. Paramedics are everywhere!! So scary I thought it was part of the show!"

Dunkin Donuts Center officials state that the 3 p.m. show was cancelled. WPRI reports that Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré confirmed that nine performers were seriously injured in the accident.

There are two more performances scheduled for Sunday, including a show at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Both shows are now cancelled. Ticket refunds can be obtained at the box office. For those who purchased through Ticketmaster, refunds will be made automatically.

The Barnum & Bailey circus is in Providence until Monday, May 5, 2014.