(The Feb. 8 story was refiled to correct the conversion from 60-75 meters in the first paragraph)
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Acrobat Nik Wallenda was rehearsing an eight-person pyramid stunt on the high wire at a Florida circus when five performers fell from about 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) on Wednesday, authorities said.
Wallenda was not injured, but five people were hospitalized with injuries from the accident that occurred during a practice of the final act for Circus Sarasota, said Pedro Reis, CEO of the Circus Arts Conservatory presenting the show.
“Accidents do happen as you know,” he told reporters at a news conference, noting that no one was killed or crippled. “The show must go on.”
He said one performer appeared to have lost his balance on the high-wire. Wallenda was anchoring the rear of the pyramid and did not fall.
Five performers were transported to hospitals, Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier said.
Wallenda’s feats have included high-wire walks above Niagara Falls, between two Chicago skyscrapers while blindfolded and across Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
Wallenda, the self-proclaimed “King of the High Wire,” is part of the seventh generation of the famed Flying Wallenda family of acrobats. His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, slipped and fell to his death from a high wire in Puerto Rico in 1978.
Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Dan Grebler