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Jul 1, 2013
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Sad news to start the workweek: A fatal accident occurred during a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas yesterday, June 30 (Manila time).

Veteran aerialist Sarah "Sassoon" Guyard Gulliot was performing at Cirque du Soleil's Ka show at the MGM Grand when she reportedly slipped out of her safety wire and fell nearly 50 feet to her death. The 31-year old acrobat was brought to a nearby medical center but was pronounced dead right away. It was the first onstage fatality for the famed acrobatic troupe in its three decades of existence.


The incident reportedly happened right at the end of the show. Guyard Gulliot was ascending to the top of the stage during the closing battle scene when she slipped off the harness and dropped into the pit below. Audience members who picked up on the incident right away say she was hoisted up the side of the stage, and the show even momentarily continued before ultimately stopping. Moments later, the crowd was promised a refund and was inadvertently dismissed.

A mother of two children, Guyard Gulliot was trained as an acrobat and an aerialist at Annie Fratellini & Circus Academy and had been a performer for 22 years. She was also the head coach of the Cirque Fit fitness program for kids. In line with this unfortunate incident, future performances of Ka have been cancelled until further notice.

Cirque du Soleil accident                                                                     Sarah went by the stage name "Sassoon"

Cirque spokesperson Renee-Claud Menard however claims that the safety harness was not responsible for Guyard Gulliot's fall. "At this point in time, I can't confirm exactly what happened, but I can confirm that she did not slip out of her harness." he explains. In this scenario, a performer's safety could be at fault, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says they will look into it further.

"I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family," says Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte. "Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of Ka since 2006 and has been an integral part of our Cirque du Soleil tight family. We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as family."

Cirque du Soleil accident                                                                   Sarah, a native of Paris, was a mother of two

On behalf of the FHM Nation, we would like to offer our deepest condolences to Sassoon's family at home and at the circuit. We know fatal accidents are merely an occupational hazard for aerialists and circus performers, but a life lost is a life lost. May this never ever happen again. Bummer, it feels like Owen Hart all over again.