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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Horror at circus as performer falls from 'wheel of death'

Families watched in horror as a circus performer plunged from the “wheel of death”.

Circus photo
The 'wheel of death'

The hapless daredevil from Planet Circus was walking on top of the wheel in Whitehaven on Sunday when he caught his foot and plunged to the ground in front of a full house.

Opinions differ as to how far he fell after the death-defying feat went wrong. Ringmaster Mark Whitney said it was about 10ft but a spectator insisted it was more like 30ft.

Ellen Collins, 31, of Workington and her two children Sophie, seven, and Lily, five, were among the hundreds of people who watched the incident in stunned silence. She said: “He fell about 30 feet and was nearly the full height of the circus. We heard this crash and his leg went like a banana: his foot and ankle no longer faced the same way. He never even murmured. There was a deathly silence.”

The man is still in West Cumberland hospital and will have to have an operation on his injured leg.

Mr Whitney said: “He has been in hospital since and is recovering well. So far as I know he has broken his ankle. It’s a dangerous stunt but it’s something he was born into and something he has done all his life, ever since he was a child. It has never happened before. When anything like this happens it’s a big shock. But it is nice when the public respond and show a lot of care.

“He has had so many messages through Facebook and phone calls from people asking about him.”

He added: “We can’t thank the hospital and ambulance service enough for what they did to help.”

Mr Whitney declined to reveal the name of the man.

Planet Circus hit the headlines last week when they cancelled a show in Workington after they discovered a rival American circus had set up a mile down the road.

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