PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS) — Nine people were hurt in a frightening accident during a circus performance Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

The acrobats with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were performing a series of stunts while hanging by their hair.  But during what’s called the human chandelier, the apparatus holding them gave way.  All eight of the performers fell 20 feet to the ground,  landing on top of another dancer.

The nine injured were taken to area hospitals. The injuries included broken bones and head injuries.At least three performers were in critical condition.

“Until we find out the nature of the problem, the show is going to be on hold,” said Providence Fire Chief Claren Cuhna.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating.

The performance was suspended after the apparent accident and the remaining shows on Sunday were cancelled.

A show on Monday morning was also cancelled, but the performance is expected to resume in the evening without aerial acts.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the performers and their families who were injured. Clearly at Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey we pride ourselves at providing a family friendly environment for live entertainment,” said Stephen Payne of Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the circus.

Payne said the company hopes to provide compensation for those who weren’t able to see the circus.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

Several circus-goers have posted cell phone footage of the accident on social media and on YouTube.

Video Warning: Images may be too graphic for some viewers

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