PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS/AP) — Investigators in Rhode Island have completed the initial investigation into a circus accident that sent eight acrobats hanging from their hair plummeting to the floor.
Providence fire investigator Paul Doughty said Tuesday they are turning evidence over to investigators at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Doughty noted that includes the three pieces of a broken carabiner clip that was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that suspended the performers during Sunday’s performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.
Doughty said they have narrowed down the cause of the broken clip to two possibilities: a manufacturing defect or improper use.
The latter could have to do with how it was installed in the rigging, he said.
“For example, it could only be used in the long directions, it can’t be sideways,” he said. “When you get involved with rigging, angles become very, very important.”
Doughty said they would also be turning over interviews, investigators’ initial findings and measurements.
The circus packed up and headed for Connecticut without eight of its acrobats, some of whom remained hospitalized in Providence. When the clip snapped, the women fell 20 feet or more to the ground, and the apparatus landed on them.
One of the women, Samantha Pitard, has been released, Rhode Island Hospital said Tuesday night.
The hospital said four others remained in serious condition and three others have asked that no more information be released about them. The hospital had said Tuesday morning four of the eight were in good condition.
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