SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) –-Five performers were injured when they fell from a high wire on Wednesday afternoon in Sarasota. At least two of the injured are members of the Wallenda family.
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.
“It’s a very difficult trick, obviously, there’s eight persons involved, and it’s obviously a lot of momentum involved, and if somebody loses a balance, then something can go wrong,” said Circus Arts Conservatory CEO Pedro Reis.
Firefighters responded to the call around 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.
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.
At least two patients are in critical condition, and one is in guarded condition.
Doctors expect all of them to survive, but said they are lucky to be alive considering how far they fell.
“There’s no fatalities, and I’m sure they’ll be back on their feet in a few months. Thank God,” said Reis.
The 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.