A longtime aerialist for the famed Cirque Du Soleil plummeted to his death in front of a horrified crowd in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday night.
Yann Arnaud of France was performing “the aerial straps number’’ for Cirque’s VOLTA show when he apparently lost hold of his rope while swinging about 12 to 15 feet above the stage and fell, witnesses and the company said.
Arnaud’s wife is model Inna D Gorelova, who gave birth to the couple’s daughter in August 2015, according to his social media accounts. It was unclear if Gorelova was also on stage that night.
Ben Ritter of Tampa said he was in the audience when tragedy struck.
When the high-flying performer slipped and smacked onto the stage, he was “out cold and not moving,” Ritter told the Tampa Bay Times.
The performance was stopped so medical professionals could respond. Arnaud was transported to Tampa General Hospital but died of his injuries, Cirque said.
“Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him,” said Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group President and CEO Daniel Lamarre in a statement.
“We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident.’’
The show’s two final scheduled performances in the city have been canceled. VOLTA is based on extreme sports.