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Tiger Attacks Las Vegas Magician During Show

Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy is in critical condition after being mauled onstage.

October 04, 2003|Monte Morin | Times Staff Writer

A tiger attacked magician Roy Horn in the middle of a Friday night performance of "Siegfried & Roy" at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, authorities said.

Horn, who turned 59 on Friday, was reported in critical condition at University Medical Center, where he was admitted into surgery.

"The tiger went for his neck, then drug him offstage," said Andy Cushman, who was in the audience for the 7:30 p.m. performance. "He looked like a rag doll."

Cushman, a 23-year-old reporter from Haddon Township, N.J., said Horn, the dark-haired member of the duo, appeared alone onstage with a white tiger about 45 minutes into the show. Horn told the audience the tiger was 9 years old and was making its debut in the show, Cushman said.

Moments later, the tiger lunged at Horn, who tried beating the tiger off with a microphone, Cushman said.

A short time later, Siegfried Fischbacher appeared onstage visibly upset and said the performance was canceled, Cushman said.

Emergency medical crews arrived at the stage to find Horn's assistants struggling to stop the bleeding.

"The paramedics went to work on him. He had an airway problem," said Clark County Fire Department spokesman Bob Leinbach.

At the hospital, medical workers tried to insert a breathing tube into Horn's throat.

"They tried to put a tube down his throat and he fought that, which is a good sign," Leinbach said. "By the time we left he was talking, and they had stopped the bleeding, but he was having trouble breathing. We would characterize his injuries as severe or serious."

Hospital spokeswoman Cheryl Persinger said Horn was in critical condition late Friday night.

A spokesman for Siegfried & Roy, Dave Kirvin, said the tiger has been placed in quarantine at the hotel.

Officials at the Mirage said the show will be canceled indefinitely.

The German-born pair performed eight shows a week, 44 weeks per year at the Mirage's 1,504-seat Siegfried & Roy Theater. The illusionists signed a lifetime contract with the Mirage in 2001. They have been performing in Las Vegas for about 30 years.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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