Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 7, 2014

Circus acrobat willing to do hair-hanging again

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — One of eight circus acrobats who plunged about 20 feet to the ground during a hair-hanging act witnessed by thousands says she'll perform the stunt again.

"For me, you gotta get back up and do it again," Samantha Pitard told The Associated Press after being released from a hospital Tuesday.

Pitard and seven other acrobats were performing an act described as a "human chandelier," hanging from an apparatus by their hair. They were injured during a Sunday performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus when a clip at the top of the chandelier-like apparatus snapped, dropping them to the ground.

The other women are still hospitalized and Pitard said she plans to stay in Providence to support her friends as they work to regain their health. Then she'd like to return to the circus.

"I'm hoping to join back up with the tour and show the world that I'm OK, and I'm hoping some of the other girls will do the same," she said.

Pitard, 23, a native of Champaign, Illinois, said she's the only one of the troupe who can walk on her own. The others need assistance or haven't tried to walk because they're undergoing operations. But she said the others are expected to fully recover and are in good spirits after receiving an outpouring of support, including get-well cards from children who witnessed the accident. About 3,900 people were in the audience.

"Every single one of us in the troupe, every single circus performer, knows that they are risking their lives every time they go out there to perform or practice," she said. "We hope it doesn't happen, but we know that we are taking that risk, and we love it enough to take that risk every day to make people happy."

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