'Nightmares' plague circus performers injured in Rhode Island

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 17, 2014 5:25 PM

BOSTON (Reuters) - Four circus performers, injured last month when an apparatus broke while suspending them 40 feet (12 meters) in the air by their hair, made their first public remarks since the accident on Tuesday with one saying she had nightmares of the fall.

Svitlana Balanchieva, 22, one of eight performers badly hurt in the May 4 accident in Providence, Rhode Island, said she missed performing was still plagued by the accident.

"We have nightmares about this," she said at a during a news conference at Boston hospital where she is recovering.

Balanchieva was joined by three other injured acrobats from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. She said another performer who had intended to speak could not do so because of surgery.

Balanchieva is among seven performers who have retained the Chicago law firm Clifford Law Offices to represent them but the women have not taken legal action in the case.

The women had been suspended by their hair from a chandelier-like rigging when the single steel clamp that held it failed during a Sunday daytime performance at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence last month.

Balanchieva and fellow acrobat Viktoria Medeiros said they missed performing.

"We always liked it to entertain families and mostly small kids," said Balanchieva, who wore a neck brace and support around her torso.

"We took great joy in making others happy," Medeiros said. "That will no longer come to be," said Medeiros, seated in a wheelchair with her arm bandaged. "Always it will make us sad to know that we will never go back to do what we want to do, what we love to do."

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bill Trott)