Acrobat in China falls to her death during live performance with husband

Videos of the graphic incident showed that the couple was pulled high into the air from the ground by what appears to be a crane. PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM YOUTUBE

Authorities are investigating the death of an acrobat, who fell while performing with her husband during a live flying-trapeze performance in Suzhou, China, last Saturday.

Videos of the graphic incident posted on social media showed that the couple was pulled high into the air from the ground by what appears to be a crane.

In the videos, the woman was later seen falling from reportedly more than 9m high, after her husband failed to catch her with his legs during the performance.

The videos showed the woman – who has been identified as Ms Sun in local media – falling onto a hard surface. Spectators can be heard screaming in the videos as Sun lands on the ground.

A colleague of Ms Sun told local media that she was “still breathing weakly” after the incident.

Ms Sun was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to her injuries.

On Monday, Chinese news outlet Global Times reported that the authorities have vowed to conduct an in-depth investigation according to laws and regulations.

After the incident, the performance was cancelled along with other shows scheduled to take place over the weekend.

The couple were reportedly experienced performers who had worked together for many years, but had often performed without safety belts “for the sake of looking good”.

The incident happened at a farm in the city, according to a statement by Suzhou city’s Yongqiao district government information office.

Citing media reports, China Daily reported on Tuesday that an agreement signed by the farm’s owner and the performance company said it is the latter that is responsible for performance safety. The company was not named in the report.

Future performances by the company involved were immediately suspended, said the report, citing the Yongqiao government.

The report added that videos showed a staff member of the company saying to the audience before the show: “We (want) to make the programme real, so the acrobats have taken no safety measures.”

Netizens in China questioned how the incident could have happened and called for better regulations in the acrobat performance industry.

One Weibo netizen wrote: “Cancel this high-risk acrobatic show! Or add protection.”

Another netizen wrote: “Protective nets should be set up under high-altitude acrobatics... the organiser is responsible and cannot escape!”

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.