Authorities: Clamp snapped in circus accident

Rhode Island state troopers and Providence police stand in the lobby of the Dunkin' Donuts Center after an accident during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance, Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Providence, R.I. A platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the 11 a.m. performance Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground. At least nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below, while an unknown number of others suffered minor injuries. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
Rhode Island state troopers and Providence police stand in the lobby of the Dunkin' Donuts Center after an accident during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance, Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Providence, R.I. A platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the 11 a.m. performance Sunday, sending eight acrobats plummeting to the ground. At least nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below, while an unknown number of others suffered minor injuries. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A public safety official in Rhode Island says investigators looking into what happened to send eight circus acrobats plummeting to the ground during a performance have found that a clamp snapped.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare told WPRO-AM on Monday that the clamp that held the performers to the rafters failed.

He says federal workplace safety investigators are focusing on why it failed.

Several people on the ground were also injured when the performers fell 25 to 40 feet to the ground during a Sunday performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Three of the acrobats remain in critical condition Monday morning.

A spokesman for the circus’s parent company says none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening.

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