Four of the acrobats seriously injured in a hair-hanging stunt gone awry are planning a lawsuit and are coming to terms with the idea their lives might never be the same, they said Tuesday from the hospital where they're recovering.
A total of eight acrobats from the U.S., Brazil, Bulgaria and Ukraine were injured May 4, when, investigators say, a carabiner clip snapped, sending them plummeting about 30 feet to the floor at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Providence.
Four of the women spoke Tuesday at a news conference at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where a number are still undergoing physical therapy. For some it was their first public appearance since the accident.
They declined to detail the extent of their individual injuries, but their lawyers said the performers had, collectively, experienced about two dozen surgeries.
Julissa Segrera, 20, said her dream had been to be a star performer. Now her dream is to be able to someday walk with her young son to the park.
Viktoriya Medeiros, 34, of Bulgaria, who designed the hair-hanging "human chandelier" act with her husband, said the women know they are lucky to be alive. She wore a neck brace and was in a wheelchair. She said she won't be able to perform the stunt ever again.
"I will not be able to go back and to make what I know to do best, what I love to do. It's my dreams," Medeiros said.
Dayana Costa, 26, of Brazil, said her family had put their lives on hold to be with her in Boston during the long recovery. She wore a neck brace, had pins in her arms and was in a motorized chair. She said her recovery was difficult and painful.
"I believe the same God that saved me, my friends' life, is the same God that's going to give our victory," she said.
The lawyers, of Chicago's Clifford Law Offices, declined to say who would be the focus of a lawsuit. They said it would be difficult to sue the circus, but would more likely target others, possibly the maker of the carabiner or the arena.
The women's medical treatment is being covered through workers' compensation.