Daredevil Nik Wallenda involved in Florida circus high-wire fall

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 08, 2017 4:00 PM

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Acrobat Nik Wallenda was rehearsing an eight-person pyramid stunt on the high wire at a Florida circus when five performers fell from about 20 to 25 feet (60-75 meters) on Wednesday, authorities said.

Wallenda was not injured, but five people were hospitalized with injuries from the accident that occurred during a practice of the final act for Circus Sarasota, said Pedro Reis, CEO of the Circus Arts Conservatory presenting the show.

"Accidents do happen as you know," he told reporters at a news conference, noting that no one was killed or crippled. "The show must go on."

He said one performer appeared to have lost his balance on the high-wire. Wallenda was anchoring the rear of the pyramid and did not fall.

Five performers were transported to hospitals, Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier said.

Wallenda's feats have included high-wire walks above Niagara Falls, between two Chicago skyscrapers while blindfolded and across Arizona's Grand Canyon.

Wallenda, the self-proclaimed "King of the High Wire," is part of the seventh generation of the famed Flying Wallenda family of acrobats. His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, slipped and fell to his death from a high wire in Puerto Rico in 1978.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Dan Grebler)