A Russian acrobat is in critical condition after plummeting 16 feet to the ground during a trapeze act gone horribly wrong, as seen in a sickening video going viral online.
“An aerial gymnast fell during a performance at the circus,” said prosecutors investigating the incident, which occurred on August 31 at the Crocus Circus in Barnaul, Altai Krai region, CEN reports.
The traumatic clip shows the gymnast, identified as Maria Smetanova, 23, per the Mirror, hanging upside down on the trapeze as she scissors her legs in the air during the high-flying act, which was performed without a safety net.
All of a sudden, the aerialist’s grip slips and she plunges 30 feet to the ground and lands on her head with a sickening thud as the crowd gasps in shock.
The clip ends with Smetanova lying motionless on the ground as the ringmaster rushes to attend to her.
The trapeze artist was rushed to the hospital, where tests revealed that she’d suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries. She also sustained a concussion and a broken arm in the fall.
In light of the freak accident, audience members were offered refunds by circus management, who described the accident as a “great tragedy.”
Prosecutors are currently probing the safety procedures in place at the circus.
“We are checking to see that all the required safety and labor protection rules are in place with regard to the performance by the circus artist,” they said in a statement. “This investigation is ongoing.”
As of yet, the circus show will still continue.
WATCH THE SCARY VIDEO BELOW:
Russian Circus performer nose-dives 30 feet during trapeze act, terrifying fall to ground caught on video— Joseph Morris (@JosephMorrisYT) September 1, 2023
Maria Smetanova, 23, is in critical condtion. pic.twitter.com/Q4jnzNsRaP
In a similar accident in 2022, UK circus performer Megan Christian, 21, broke her neck in three places after falling from a trapeze during an event in Kent.
Despite her serious injury, the acrobat refused to quit the dangerous pursuit as she claimed it was her dream.
“You always know there is a risk. You are doing a job which is unnatural for the body,” declared the stalwart circus performer of the death-defying stunt. “But it has made me think about things differently now that I have been given a second chance.”
She added, “Everyone said I was crazy to go back and that I should do something else, but the circus is my blood.”