Four circus acrobats injured during a hair-hanging stunt today discussed publicly, at times through tears, the accident that sent them plummeting to the ground during a live performance in Rhode Island.
The women, injured during a May 4 performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Providence when the apparatus from which they were suspended fell, shared thoughts on their injuries, recoveries, and gratitude.
“We always like to entertain families,” performer Svitlana Balanicheva told the media at a press conference at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Boston where they are recovering. “Now we have nightmares about it.”
Lawyers representing the performers said they are conducting an investigation and still deliberating who, if anyone, would be named in any lawsuit.
“They want to make sure this never happens in another circus act again,” their lawyer Michael Krzak said, adding that Ringling Bros., the employer, is unlikely to be a target. The lawyers said the circus is paying the medical bills and that their clients are receiving excellent care.
“These girls never would have gotten up on the human chandelier if they thought there was any chance of the human chandelier failing,” Krzak said. “The girls are in pretty bad shape. I think it’s safe to say they’re going to be here for a while. The most important thing for these girls is that they not be sent somewhere else. They need to heal together.”
Krzak said on Monday that seven of the women recently hired his firm, Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices. The eighth acrobat has hired her own local lawyer, he said.
“We are happy to be here, alive,” acrobat Viktoriya Medeiros said. “Your prayers are still needed for all of us.”
Medeiros said she is looking forward to her lawyers figuring out what happened.
While each of the injured performers faces different injuries, Medeiros said she will not be able to go back to performing.
“For me, my dream is over,” she said.
Performer Julissa Segrera had similar feelings.
“My dream was to be a star performer,” Segrera said. “Now my dream is to get up and walk.”
“We’re going to do everything we can for these young ladies,” said another lawyer, adding that it’s possible the carabiner manufacturer could be the target of a lawsuit, but that his team has been prevented from reviewing the evidence so far by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“It’s been a very painful recovery,” Dayana Costa said through tears. “The doctors still don’t know what’s going to happen. Every day is really hard. Every day is something new.”
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is still investigating the accident.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.