Cirque du Soleil aerialist plunges to his death during Tampa performance

Yann Arnaud, a 15-year-old veteran performer with Cirque du Soleil, seen here with his daughter, collapsed to his death during a show in Tampa on Saturday.


A Cirque du Soleil aerialist with over 15 years experience, died after a fall from the stage during a high-flying performance of the Saturday evening in Florida, the company confirmed in a statement.

“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann Arnaud already had more than 15 years and is loved by all, and who had a chance to know him,” Cirque du Soleil said in a statement.

Video of the Tampa incident that was posted online showed Arnaud hovers about 15 feet above the audience, swinging across the stage and then falling on his side. Colleagues quickly rushed to his aid.

Witnesses told WFTS he was not responding to medical staff rushed to join him.

— Cirque du Soleil (@Cirque) March 18, 2018

Cirque du Soleil says it is currently gathering more information about the incident and cooperating with authorities who are looking into what happened.

The show, which is known as Volta, ended following the incident and the guests were given notices that their tickets would be refunded, Fox 13 reports.

Really happy that my solo is back, need small adjustments, but getting better everyday… #cirquedusoleil #volta #acrobatics #run #solo #BMXintro #circus #circuseverydamnday #circuslife #light #stage #show #circusarts #lifeontour #tampa #florida #aerialacrobatics #speedmaster #gymnastics #ring #spinning #cirfit #cirfit_usa #cirfitapparel #cirfit365 #cirfitworld #cirfitfamily #teamcirfit

A post shared by Yann Arnaud (@yannarnophoto) on Feb 21, 2018 at 8:00 pm PST

The acrobatic show was held in a tent at the Tampa Greyhound Track since mid-February.


A spokesperson from Cirque du Soleil previously released a statement saying that the show was cancelled.

This is not the first time a Cirque du Soleil performer injured or killed on the job.

The former Olympian Lisa Skinner lost her grip during a solo aerial hoops act in November 2016, and is approximately 16 metres to the ground. She was in a neck brace before being transported to the hospital.

In October 2013, veteran acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot fell 94 feet to her death at the conclusion of a performance, that was the first stage death in Cirque du Soleil’s history.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

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