Circus moves to Hartford, without hair hanging act

Ringling Brothers circus resumes performances Thursday in Connecticut

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus moved to Hartford for its first performance since an accident in Providence that injured eight acrobats hanging by their hair.

Circus officials met with the media Thursday and said, "The show must go on."

"The cause of the incident on Sunday is still under investigation. We are cooperating with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who is conducting its own investigation. We are also continuing to look into the incident ourselves," said Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the company that operates the circus.

Payne said that though the investigation is pending, the circus has already taken steps toward a safer performance.

"We, as a precaution, replaced all the carabiners that have been linked to Sunday's incident -- all of the carabiners on this circus unit with new ones," Payne said.

A clip at the top of the apparatus from which the acrobats were hanging by their hair snapped, dropping them about 20 feet to the ground. Why the clip broke is still not known.

Nicole Feld, one of the producers of the circus, said that the show will continue without the hair hanging act until further notice.

"At this time we have no plans to replace the act. We'll look and see how the recovery process goes," Feld said.

Some other changes have been made to the show. Most of them involve personnel because the injured performers do contribute to other acts.

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson said he's glad all the women are recovering and he said wants to move on with them in mind.

"We're going to dedicate this show to them. We're going to dedicate the remainder of our shows to them. Our community is mending. Our hearts are shaken -- not broken, though," Iverson said.

Iverson said the first responders in Providence were "superheroes" and that they "may have saved a life or two."

Seven of the acrobats injured while performing in the hair-hanging stunt remain at Rhode Island Hospital, including at least two in serious condition.