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September 24, 2017

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7 injured hair-hanging circus acrobats start litigation process

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island--Seven of the eight hair-hanging circus acrobats who fell to the ground during a "human chandelier" stunt in the U.S. last month have hired a law firm to represent them, the firm announced Monday.

The women were injured during a May 4 performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus when the apparatus from which they were suspended fell, sending them plummeting to the ground.

Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices has not yet filed a lawsuit, but it said in a news release it plans to conduct an in-depth investigation into all the possible entities that may be responsible for what happened during the performance in eastern Rhode Island state. The law firm said some of the injured acrobats will speak at a news conference Tuesday at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.

While one of the acrobats, Samantha Pitard, was released from the hospital within days, some have severe injuries, and doctors have said it's not clear whether two with spinal cord injuries will walk again. Pitard, 23, a native of Illinois, is among the seven who hired the law firm, according to a firm spokeswoman. She did not immediately have the names of the other women being represented by the firm.

The other injured acrobats are from Brazil, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

Providence police have said they suspect a steel carabiner clip at the top of the apparatus snapped. It was found in three pieces on the ground with its spine snapped.

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