Safety officials announced plans for legal action against performance company Cirque du Soleil and Las Vegas casino MGM Grand after an acrobat died in a fall witnessed by the audience.
Safety officials have announced plans for legal action against Cirque du Soleil and Las Vegas casino MGM Grand after an acrobat died in a fall [PA]
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said yesterday that they have completed their investigation into the June 29 death of 31-year-old Sarah Guillot-Guyard.
Investigators concluded she fell 94ft to the floor below when a wire rope she was suspended from was severed due to her rapid ascent.
“She ascended too quickly which caused the rope to come out of the sheave/pulley,” said Teri Williams, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry.
“The rope was severed when it encountered a sheer point. The investigation concluded that she ascended too quickly, in part, because she did not receive proper training.”
OSHA proposed six citations and more than 25,000 dollars (£15,600) in penalties for Cirque du Soleil Nevada, and three citations totalling 7,000 dollars (£4,360) for the MGM Grand, where the performance took place.
Among other things, OSHA reported Cirque did not provide proper training for the performer, and did not properly assess the workplace for hazards.
MGM faces citations because its employees were exposed to hazards due to deficiencies in Cirque’s hazard assessments, according to OSHA.
Officials from both entities said they will appeal against the decision.
“Cirque du Soleil completed an exhaustive review of its safety policies and procedures in the wake of the tragic accident involving Sarah,” said Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman Renee-Claude Menard.
“We have redoubled our efforts to ensure the overall diligence and safety of our performers and crew.”
The accident occurred during a fight scene near the end of Ka, which combines acrobatics with martial arts and puppetry and tells the story of two imperial twins on a quest to reclaim their palace from evil warriors.
Visitor Dan Mosqueda of Colorado Springs, Colorado, told the Las Vegas Sun Ms Guillot-Guyard was being hoisted up the side of the stage when it appeared that she detached from her safety wire and plummeted to an open pit below the stage.
“Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the (show),” he told the Sun. “But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage.”
The show was cut short after the acrobat’s fall, and reopened 17 days after her death.
Ms Guillot-Guyard was the first Cirque du Soleil performer to die in an onstage accident in the company’s 29-year history.
The mother of two had been with the original cast of Ka since 2006, and had been an acrobatic performer for more than 20 years, according to Cirque officials.
Born in Paris, she was also the head coach at Cirquefit, a programme that offers acrobatic fitness classes for children.