Two aerialists fall, separate incidents (TW: Falling)

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
It's been a rough few days in the aerialist world. One aerialist has fallen this past weekend at Coachella, and another has died in China.
As usual we discourage speculation and conjecture here at, but a couple of things are worth noting:
* Yes, there's actually an ANSI standard for flying humans. But it's limited in scope. It doesn't really consider aerialists/circus. Think more on the lines of Peter Pan/Cirque style automated flying/or any of the stuff that Pink does in stadiums. Have a look, it's one of my favorite things to read. It is currently being revised, and (gasp) I know/know of/am acquainted with 20 people that wrote or observed this being written! Dang, I know smart people and some of them are right here on the 'Booth. ANSI E1.43-2016

*No, I'm not gonna post the video after all. You have Google. If you need to see this sort of thing happen, I'm not gonna help you.

* It's not always gear failures. Performers are human, and mistakes get made. You can't put a lanyard on someone doing a tissu act and still actually have a tissu act. There is risk involved. If you don't get what I'm saying, it's like this: Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk have missed exponentially more tricks than they have pulled over a lifetime. So do yourself a favor and use this as a jumping off point for learning about Risk Assessment. @gafftaper knows some stuff, and the Event Safety Alliance just covered general Risk Assessment on their podcast last week- and it is conveniently located on their thread, right here on the Booth.

My parting words on stuff like this is always: You know when it's too much for what your skills can handle. You don't owe anyone an explanation as to why you don't want to go in the air, or don't want to put someone in the air. I have an online friend who swallows swords in the air. Professionally. I guarantee they don't just "go for it" if the mindset isn't there. It's always ok to ask questions, to say "no" and to (once and for all) kill the mindset of "the show must go on". And even after all that- we as a species and a craft still haven't been able to eliminate risk.
But d+mn, we keep trying to.
My daughter trained for years to be an aerialist. She even continued to train after her mentor died performing, feeling that it was likely a freak accident. She gave up her passion a couple of years ago due to what she perceived as a lack of real concern in who was managing the rigging for some companies and their "show must go on" attitude. I don't blame her or anyone who looks at the risks and chooses to make the choice for themselves to not take that upon themselves.
I do a lot of the rigging and lead the inspections at a local circus studio. Totally agree with everything above. In addition to learning about risk assessment, I recommend checking out this 2017 study of the forces present in single-point aerial arts. It provides a pretty clear baseline recommendation for equipment MBS and I think could help folks spend some more time thinking about the other risks to be mitigated instead of getting stuck in the math.

Wind, obstacles, spotters, height adjustments, dust, sunlight, spotlights, costume, choreography - tons of other things can cause catastrophic problems, and probably more often than hardware/rigging failure.

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