Cirque du Soleil performer falls to his death in Tampa

Posted at 3:20 AM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-18 23:25:16-04

TAMPA, FL (WFLA/CNN) - A longtime Cirque du Soleil performer died after a fall during a show in Tampa, FL on Saturday night.

Julian Martinez was in the crowd for the performance of "Volta." He noticed one performer during the rope swings, describing him as “struggling.”

"I saw the performer visibly straining to hold onto the rope. I saw the two acrobatics exchanging glances beforehand and I don't know if one was trying to enjoy, the other was okay. But at that point something might happen," Martinez said.

And sadly, something did happen. The performer fell from the rope onto the stage.

It was not part of the show.

“It didn't look good. I don't want to say he hit head first, but it was the upper portion that made immediate contact with the floor," Martinez recalled.

Immediately after the fall, medical staff rushed the stage.

Martinez said he never saw the man move after.

"It was awful. You heard all the cries of the audience. There were children there and they were freaking out,” Martinez explained.

The man died after being rushed to the hospital.

Martinez can't help but think if he was able to notice the performer struggling to keep his grip, why wasn't more done?

"I wish someone would have noticed it and stepped in. It just kind of colors your opinion on everything that's happening behind the scenes,” Martinez said. “What's the cost our entertainment?"

The last two shows of "Volta" scheduled for Sunday were canceled after the incident.

Cirque du Soleil says they are working with authorities as they look into what happened.

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