An experienced Cirque du Soleil artist died after diving into a stage during an aerial strap routine at a weekend show in Tampa, Florida, the company said Sunday.
The incident occurred on Saturday night when Yann Arnaud, 38, fell during a presentation of the show "Volta," according to the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. The French performance artist died of his injuries at the Tampa General Hospital.
Arnaud had been performing at Cirque shows for 15 years and was considered one of the company's most experienced artists, president and CEO Daniel Lamarre told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"We were very surprised, considering his experience, that something like this happened," Lamarre said, speaking from Tampa, where he had flown to be with the program's cast. I can describe how people feel. It's terrible. "
Death is the third involving a Cirque artist in the company's 34 years, Lamarre said, adding that the act of the air strap was seen as a relatively safe number.
Julian Martinez, a spectator who witnessed the accident, told NBC affiliate, WFLA: "It was horrible. They heard all the screams of the audience. There were children there and they were going crazy. "
Lamarre said he could not share details about the incident involving Arnaud, husband and father of two young children.
" We are offering our complete and transparent collaboration to the authorities. as they analyze the circumstances of this accident, "the company said in a statement, adding that the last two Volta concerts planned for Tampa on Sunday had been canceled.
Police said Arnaud was acting on double rings when one of his hands slipped and fell about 20 feet, an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Tampa police said the incident was being investigated by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration
. ] Just a few hours before it fell, Arnaud posted a photo on Instagram to announce that the strap duo would finally appear on the show.