According to a recent CNN news report, the weekend accident that injured nine members of a circus troupe, along with two other people, during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performance in Providence, Rhode Island, was caused by a 5-inch D-ring that snapped, the lead investigator for the city’s fire department said Monday.
The steel caribiner was part of a rig designed to hoist performers by their hair into the air above the audience, where they would perform acrobatics. When it snapped, the rig fell to the ground to the confusion and horror of the audience.
The caribiner was rated for about 10,000 pounds, and the weight of the performers and the rig that fell was about 1,500 pounds. It is still unclear what caused the clamp to break.