During a live March 17th Cirque du Soleil performance in Tampa, Florida, aerialist Yann Arnaud fell to his death. Arnaud had been with Cirque du Soleil for over 15 years and had been practicing his “VOLTA” routine for two months. It was only his second night performing the aerial straps routine live when his hand slipped. It’s estimated Arnaud plummeted about 20 feet to the stage below.
Arnaud was taken to a nearby hospital and later passed away from his injuries. The company is now working with authorities to figure out what went wrong.
Cirque du Soleil often employs safety nets during risky routines. But, as the company’s CEO Daniel Lamarre told CBS News, because of Arnaud and his partner’s professionalism, it was decided the use of a net or safety harness would be unnecessary.
Cirque du Soleil released a statement via Twitter sharing their condolences with Arnaud’s family.
Besides being an esteemed aerialist performer, Arnaud, 38, was also a husband and father to two daughters. His eldest girl lives in France with his family and his youngest resides in Miami with he and his wife Inna Gorelova. Gorelova also reportedly works for Cirque du Soleil.
Arnaud often shared behind-the-scenes photos from his Cirque rehearsals and show prep via Instagram. His talent and skill for aerial acrobatics were incredible.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Cirque du Soleil has lost a performer to a dangerous routine. 31-year-old Sarah Guillot-Guyard died in 2013 after her safety wire snapped during an aerial number. She fell 94 feet during a show in Las Vegas.
This is an incredible tragedy for Arnaud’s family, friends, and his Cirque du Soleil community. We’re sending our condolences their way.