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Clip suspected in circus accident

on May 06, 2014 10:35 AM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Investigators suspect that a snapped clip sent eight aerial acrobats plummeting 20 feet or more during a daring act in which performers dangle from their hair.

The clip, a common type called a carabiner that’s used for everything from rock climbing to holding key rings, was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that suspended the performers, fire officials said.

After the accident, the 4- to 5-inch steel clip was found in three pieces on the ground with its spine snapped.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare stopped short of saying the carabiner caused Sunday’s accident at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus, witnessed by about 3,900 people, many of them children.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying to make a final determination.

Eight circus acrobats remain hospitalized today, Rhode Island Hospital officials said.

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