Advertisement
  1. News

Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall during Tampa performance

Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud, left, in a photo taken from his Facebook page. Arnaud died after suffering a fall during a Tampa Cirque du Soleil performance Credit: Facebook.
Published Mar. 18, 2018

An acrobat who fell some 20 feet during a Tampa Cirque du Soleil performance Saturday night has died from his injuries.

Around 9:52 p.m. during the Saturday Volta show, veteran aerialist Yann Arnaud lost his grip on an aerial ring and fell to the stage, a video reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times showed.

At the time of the fall, Arnaud and another performer were conducting a complex routine that involved the acrobats swinging back and forth over the stage. The men, each holding onto a gymnastic ring suspended by a rope, interlocked arms as the ring ropes wound around one another. When the ropes unwound, the acrobats swung to opposite ends of the performance space. As gravity brought them back toward the center of the arena, Arnaud lost his grip and plunged to the stage.

The show immediately stopped so medical professionals could tend to the injured performer. Arnaud was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he died early Sunday, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed.

RELATED: Cirque du Soleil aerialist who died after fall was performing act for first time, he said on Instagram

Cirque du Soleil announced in a statement Sunday that the rest of its Tampa performances would be cancelled. Volta's run at the Tampa Greyhound Track began Feb. 14 and was to end Sunday.

"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy," Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said in the statement. "Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him."

Cirque du Soleil added that it would further investigate the incident. The Tampa Police Department is also investigating the incident, although a department spokesman said in a statement that the fall appeared to be accidental.

An autopsy will be performed Monday by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office, TPD spokesman Steve Hegarty said.

According to his Facebook profile, Arnaud, 38, was from Champigny-sur-Marne, France, and lived in Miami. Other social media posts indicated he had a wife and daughter.

Arnaud is not the first Cirque du Soleil performer to die from an injury sustained during a performance. The Canadian theater company suffered its first onstage death in 2013, when another French performer, Sarah Guillot-Guyard, 31, fell about 50 feet during a performance in Las Vegas.

Ben Ritter, 76, of Tampa, who attended Saturday's performance, said the injury was shocking. As soon as Arnaud hit the stage, he said the performer was "out cold and not moving."

When the audience was asked to leave the arena after the fall, Ritter, a retired advocate for disabled veterans, thought the show might only suffer a brief delay. But within half an hour the crowd was informed the remainder of Saturday's show was cancelled. (Audience members who purchased tickets through Cirque du Soleil were immediately refunded.)

But a refund was the least of Ritter's worries.

"I'm so concerned for that acrobat," Ritter said Sunday.

Other spectators — and one professional athlete — took to Twitter to offer their best wishes to the performer.

"Can't stop thinking about the guy who fell last night," New York Yankees outfielder Shane Robinson tweeted.

"If you're the praying type, say a few for the @Cirque performers at #Volta in Tampa tonight," an audience member, Amanda Scherer, tweeted.

Times staff writer Langston Taylor contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A view of the Perseid meteor shower in 2013.  Scientists are predicting a rare meteor outburst this week that may be brief but incredibly intense. [Associated Press]
    Hundreds of shooting stars may be visible as Earth plows through the dusty tail of an unidentified comet.
  2. Riley Kinn pauses during an interview in Fostoria, Ohio, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Although Kinn was assured by the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, that he'd have the chance to share his story with an independent review board, he never got the opportunity. After the diocese sent a retired police detective to interview him, who took names of others who could back his account, he learned by letter that the board had found his allegations “unsubstantiated.” Toledo Diocese spokeswoman Kelly Donaghy said the review board doesn’t promise victims they can testify, but examines each case in turn. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) PAUL SANCYA  |  AP
    Review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.
  3. Zum driver Stacey Patrick, right, waves goodbye to student Saahas Kohli, left, and his mother, Alpa Kohli, obscured behind her son, as he returns home from school in Saratoga, Calif. A handful of ride-hailing companies have surfaced that allow parents to order rides, and in some cases childcare, for children using smartphone apps. The promise is alluring at a time when children are expected to accomplish a dizzying array of extracurricular activities and the boundaries between work and home have blurred. But the companies face hurdles convincing parents that a stranger hired by a ride-hailing company is trustworthy enough to ferry their most precious passengers. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) BEN MARGOT  |  AP
    Ride-hailing companies resolve a dilemma many parents face: how to pick up your kids from school while holding a full-time job.
  4. In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo former White House adviser on Russia, Fiona Hill arrives for a closed door meeting as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Donald Trump’s exchange with the Ukrainian president was like nothing he had ever seen, David Holmes said in an earlier deposition.
  5. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The woman was running across an intersection against a crosswalk control signal, troopers said.
  6. Integrity Express Logistics, which is expanding its Tampa office, matches freight with trucks to haul it in 48 states and Canada. (DANNY JOHNSTON | Associated Press) DANNY JOHNSTON  |  AP
    The company plans to hire at least 50 more employees and to spend $230,000 on renovations and new office equipment.
  7. Scott Purcell, a senior geophysicist with GeoView, left, and Mike Wightman, president of GeoView use ground penetrating radar technology to scan a portion of King High campus in search for Ridgewood Cemetery in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    Why would I discourage my daughters’ creativity and drive? Aside from being lazy, I was trying to shield them from disappointment.
  9. Phase 1A of the project includes closing W Cass Street from N Willow Avenue to N Boulevard. DIVYA KUMAR  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A stormwater system improvement project has resulted in fewer customers frequenting Cass Street businesses in North Hyde Park.
  10. James Rybicki, 63, faces charges of lewd and lascivious molestation and possession of child pornography. But he could go free after a judge found that Pinellas sheriff’s detectives and Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors lied to obtain a search warrant in his case. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A Pinellas sheriff’s detective and Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors “made false statements” to obtain a search warrant, a judge has ruled. The evidence was thrown out.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement