Entertainment News

  • 31 October 2013, 15:27

Cirque Du Soleil Faces Fines After Fatal Fall

Performance company Cirque du Soleil and Las Vegas casino MGM Grand face thousands of dollars in fines after an acrobat died in a fall.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has completed its investigation into the death of 31-year-old Sarah Guillot-Guyard.

Investigators concluded she fell 28 metres (94 feet) to the floor when a wire rope she was suspended from was severed due to her rapid ascent.

Teri Williams, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, said: "She ascended too quickly which caused the rope to come out of the sheave/pulley.

"The rope was severed when it encountered a shear point. The investigation concluded that she ascended too quickly, in part, because she did not receive proper training."

OSHA proposed more than $25,000 (15,500) in penalties for Cirque du Soleil Nevada, and three citations totalling $7,000 (4,350) 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 the decision.

Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman Renee-Claude Menard said: "Cirque du Soleil completed an exhaustive review of its safety policies and procedures in the wake of the tragic accident involving Sarah.

"We have redoubled our efforts to ensure the overall diligence and safety of our performers and crew."

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.

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.