Cirque du Soleil performer plunges to his death in Tampa

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Artists perform during a dress rehearsal for a show by Cirque du Soleil. (Reuters Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. (FOX NEWS) — A Cirque du Soleil aerialist with 15 years of experience died during a high-flying performance Saturday night in Florida, the company confirmed in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann Arnaud had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had a chance to know him,” Cirque du Soleil said in a statement.

Video of the Tampa incident shows the man hovering about 15 feet above the audience before swinging back over the stage and then falling onto his side. Colleagues quickly rushed to his aid.

Witnesses told WFTS he was unresponsive when medical personnel rushed to attend to him.

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

Artists perform during Cirque du Soleil's Varekai show in Bogota March 20, 2013. REUTERS/John Vizcaino (COLOMBIA - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - GM1E93L14NL01

Artists perform during Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai show in Bogota March 20, 2013.  (Reuters)

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

A spokesman for Cirque du Soleil released a statement to Fox 13 about the incident:

“One of the aerial straps artists of VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil fell during his performance on stage in Tampa. The artist was immediately carried out of stage to receive assistance.

“In order for the VOLTA team to focus on the health of the artist, the rest of the show has been canceled. We will stay in contact with the members of the audience who had purchased tickets for the show,” the statement continued.

This isn’t the first time a Cirque du Soleil performer has been injured on the job.

Former Olympian Lisa Skinner lost her grip during a solo aerial hoops act in November 2016 and plummeted about 16 feet to the floor. She had to be put in a neck brace before being transported to the hospital.

In October 2013, veteran acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot fell 94 feet to her death during the conclusion of a performance, which marked the first onstage fatality in Cirque du Soleil’s history.

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