Sunday, March 18, a long time Aerialist passed away after a horrific incident while performing his partner stunt. The strap duo act. The newest addition to the Cirque Du Soleil Volta show.
38-year-old Veteran Aerobat, Yann Arnaud has been working with Cirque Du Soleil for 15 years. Accompanying them across the globe performing intricate acts each time. Just hours before the performance in Tampa, Florida, Yann took to Instagram to share his excitement. “After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight,” he wrote.
Cirque du Soleil, French for “Circus of the Sun,” has been labeled as the largest theatrical producer in the world by Vanity fair. It is well known for its “cutting-edge shows featuring aerialists, acrobats and contortionists” and has performed for 160 million spectators in 48 countries. Arnaud’s death would be the first death Cirque Du Soleil performers experienced since 2013 when Sarah Guillot Guyard plummeted over 90 feet into an open area out of view.
Yann Arnaud, a married father of 2, fell 12 to 15 feet onto the ground when he lost grip of his rope. The strap duo act involves 2 red straps with a gymnastic ring attached to the end. The two men, Yann Arnaud and Pawel Walczewski performed this act suspended only through hands gripping the strap with the assistance of chalk and no other safety measure.
During the performance of the strap duo act, the two performer’s straps and arms intertwine amongst one another as they perform delicate flips. As the two performed the interwoven flips, they had been practicing, eyewitness declared that Arnaud was “straining to hold onto the rope." Once the two men separated, the rope and gravity began to work together pulling them back toward the center of the stage. That was the moment Arnaud lost his fight with gravity.
The second Arnaud’s body made an impact with the floor, Cirque Du Soleil employees were pictured rushing toward Arnaud's unmoving body as his partner watched helplessly in the air. The audience let out audible gasp and murmurs of horror. Staff quickly attempted to reassure the audience over the loudspeaker, stating that the show would be halted for the time being. It was later canceled.
Arnaud was transferred to a Florida hospital and rushed into surgery. He was breathing sharply with short and harbored breaths, completely unresponsive when they found him. As he was being transferred to the hospital, paramedics noticed facial swelling, bruising behind the eyes, and blood collecting under the skin where ribs on the right side had been broken, the report said. 5 hours after the accident, Arnaud passed away from brute force to his neck and head.