Horror footage shows the appalling moment a 26-year-old trapeze artist fell into the circus ring during a new act in front of hundreds of children and their parents.
Tatyana Zolotukhina was performing with her husband Sergey Zolotukhin, 34, when she failed to catch his hand and plunged 16ft crashing on the ground during a show in Russia.
There were screams and then silence in the Omsk circus as her husband rushed to her aid and checked her condition before carrying her from the arena with other worried staff.
The audience applauded as she was carried from the ring.
The high wire star appeared conscious after the fall, and was later rushed to hospital where she underwent an MRI.
She broke a wrist and there were fears of a fractured spine.
The wounded artist is a member of the travelling Filatov circus, run by a dynasty going back 180 years and reputed to be the oldest in Russia.
Tatyana – who describes herself as a “ballet artist” – and her husband were performing an act called “Flame” in the “Belts” style with no safety netting.
Eight weeks ago, she had posted about the new high-risk act saying it was in preparation for two years and she had suffered “scars, bruises, fear and much more behind the scenes” during its preparation.
She explained: “I worked, I tried. I was on my way to my goal, and now I’m flying. I made it.”
Edgard Zapashny, general director of the Great Moscow State Circus, said Tatyana “fell from the height of five metres while performing a complicated and dangerous trick”.
He said: “She has a wrist fracture, and possibly a compression fracture of the spine…. The circus director is at the hospital with her. The artist is conscious and is moving around independently.”
The Filatov circus said: “The health of the performer is now not in danger and she will soon return to the arena.”
Tatyana is the mother of a young son.