The lack of safety measures has sparked outrage and horror on social media after a Chinese acrobat fell to her death while performing aerial silks.
Sun, the woman's surname, fell off the stage on Saturday while performing with her husband a midair routine in a village in central Anhui Province near Suzhou. The Tongqiao District Government said Monday that she was taken to the hospital, but died from her injuries.
The incident was captured on video. A crane pulled the couple high in the air above a large outdoor platform. The woman held onto her husband, whose arms were wrapped tightly around two pieces fabric hanging from crane.
The woman hung from her husband as they swung mid-air. She lost her grip, and fell to the stage's hard surface amid screaming from the audience. The footage showed that her husband tried to catch the woman with his legs, but failed.
Social media in China was awash with videos of this horrific event. Many users asked why the woman was not wearing a safety belt and why no crash mat or safety net was on the floor. Some users called for tighter regulations for the acrobatics industry, and for better protection of performers.
This kind of midair acrobatics is dangerous. A commenter on China's Twitter like Weibo said, "At least put a net beneath so that the (performer can be protected against falling." No matter how talented the performers, they will make mistakes. Why are there no safety measures in place?
In a second statement issued Tuesday, the Tongqiao Government said that an investigation by the authorities determined the tragedy to be an accident.
According to the statement, the show was presented by a local farmer who hired the Anhui Yaxi Performing Arts Media company to put on the performance.
Investigation found that the company did not obtain the necessary approvals from the authorities before the show and failed to implement emergency and safety measures. It was also found that the use of a crane during the performance violated regulations.
In a statement, it was stated that the company had reached an agreement with the acrobat's family on compensation and would be punished in accordance with regulations.
China's Acrobats Association released a statement on Sunday expressing its 'devastation and shock' at the tragic event. It called upon acrobatic performers and groups to pay more attention to safety.
The Paper, an official news website, reported on a show where a host boasted that the performers did not have any safety equipment in order to make it look "real".
The report stated that the female acrobat was married to her husband more than 10 years and had two children.