Flying Wallendas Falling
In Sarasota, five-eighths of the Eight-Person Pyramid fell.
They caught the ground 20 or 30 feet later, depending on their place in the Eight-Person Pyramid.
At a press conference, Nik Wallenda, who was not injured, said it was very warm in the circus tent. “We were halfway out on the wire,” he explained, “someone may have fainted.”
His sister, Lijana Wallenda, and his aunt, Rietta Wallenda, were among the five hospitalized. One person suffered traumatic brain injury. Three broke bones.
To begin, the Eight-Person Pyramid is four people standing on a tightrope. A fifth and sixth person stand on a pole that is carried by the first four people. Then a seventh person sits in a chair carried by the fifth and sixth person, and an eighth person sits on the shoulders of the seventh.
“I will tell you that the show must go on,” said Pedro Reis, CEO and founder of the Circus Arts Conservatory, at a press conference. “This is not the first accident obviously, and of course, unfortunately, accidents happen.”
Managing director Jennifer Mitchell noted that rehearsing without a net is “a Wallenda tradition.”