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Cirque du Soleil has always been able to balance exciting and dangerous acts with an incredible level of safety. For thirty years, numerous Cirque shows have wowed audiences without any deaths. However, that safety streak has ended after an accident at a Cirque du Soleil Ka show resulted in the death of a cast member. Sarah Guyard-Guillot, a French acrobat and mother of two, died after falling a reported 50 feet, according to one audiencegoer.
The show is based at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and was in the middle of a routine performance when Guyard-Guillot slipped from her safety wire and dropped from stage right, falling into the stage pit below the public’s eye, although groans and moans could be heard by audience members. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the show briefly contiued, but as the noises from Guyard-Guillot became more apparent and the seriousness of the situation was revealed, the show stopped.
Viewers who were there for the performance were asked to leave, but Ra promoters refunded and offered vouchers for fans in attendance on Saturday evening. After the show was cancelled, the 31-year-old acrobat was rushed to the hospital, where she was declared dead at 11:43 p.m. Saturday.
Cirque du Soleil released a statement on Sunday regarding the incident that spoke about the loss and also notes that Guyard-Guillot’s family has been informed.
“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah (Sassoon) Guyard, artist on the production 'Ka,' that happened on Saturday, June 29, in Las Vegas. The artist's immediate family has been informed of the accident. Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family.”
In the wake of the company’s first death, Ka has been shut down at the MGM Grand until further notice. An investigation will also need to be done in order to look into why the safety wire failed or slipped, etc, and the Ka cast and crew are currently working with authorities to determine what might have happened. Additionally, a formal cause of death will not be noted until the body is examined further.
Our thoughts go out to the performers and crew at Ka, as well as Guyard-Guillot’s family in their time of need. As Cirque performers have shown in the past, they go through plenty of stress, strain and practice in order to make routines as safe as possible. Occasionally, accidents do happen, though, and it’s extremely unfortunate that this accident resulted in a fatality. MGM Grand’s show will likely shut down for good or will drastically change the routine in order to avoid an accident like this one in the future, and we’ll let you know as these decisions are made.