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Cirque du Soleil performer hurt falling off 'Wheel of Death' in Vegas

November 03, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • File photo of Cirque du Soleil at the Port of Los Angeles in October, when the company performed "Totem."
File photo of Cirque du Soleil at the Port of Los Angeles in October, when… (Christina House / For The…)

Cirque du Soleil suffered another mishap in Las Vegas last week when a performer fell during a show, the company announced in a Facebook post.

The accident Friday came just three days after regulators slapped Cirque with six citations alleging work-safety violations connected to the death of an aerialist during a performance of "Ka" at the MGM Grand in June.

The latest incident happened during the 7 p.m. showing of "Zarkana" at the Aria casino-hotel, when a performer slipped off the so-called Wheel of Death.

The show came to a halt and the performer, who was not identified, was taken to the hospital. He was expected to be released within a few days, the company said.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the show will replace the Wheel of Death act with a "straps" act.

"In the 'Wheel of Death' scene, two performers run and even skip rope atop and inside a pair of spinning wheels rotating high above the stage," the Sun added. "The act is popular among Cirque productions, and, as its name indicates, is a high-risk endeavor."

Risk, or at least the appearance of it, is one of the things that makes Cirque du Soleil so seductive to audiences around the world, but Cirque's safety record has been marred lately.

In 2009, a Cirque performer died in Montreal after sustaining head injuries from falling off a trampoline during training. Performers have also been hurt during performances of “Zumanity” in Las Vegas, “Corteo” in Portland, Ore., and “La Nouba” in Orlando, Fla.

Cirque du Soleil said last week that it would appeal the safety citations issued by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which ordered the company to pay more than $25,000 in fines.


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