Nevada authorities rule Cirque de Soleil death accidental
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013 6:17AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013 7:20PM EDT
LAS VEGAS -- The death of a Cirque du Soleil performer last Saturday in Las Vegas has been ruled accidental by the Clark County coroner's office in Nevada.
In a statement posted on its website, the office says the death of Sarah Guillot-Guyard was accidental and related to multiple blunt force trauma.
The 31-year-old woman died after she fell more than 25 metres while performing in front of an audience at Las Vegas's MGM Grand hotel.
The coroner's office says the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration is continuing an investigation into the accident and it could take up to six months to complete.
Witnesses told the Las Vegas Sun that the accident occurred during a fight scene near the end of the "Ka," which combines acrobatics with martial arts and puppetry.
Visitor Dan Mosqueda of Colorado Springs, Colo., said Guilot-Guyard was being hoisted up the side of the stage when it appeared that she detached from her safety wire and plummeted to an open pit below the stage.
The show momentarily continued, then stopped. Minutes after the accident, a recorded announcement informed audience members that refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered, and the crowd was dismissed.
The founder of Cirque du Soleil said in a statement that his tight-knit performance company is "completely devastated" by the death of the 31-year-old performer.
"I am heartbroken," Guy Laliberte said. "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 a family."
While Cirque performers soar over audiences, scale vertical walls and dangle aloft in aerial ballets -- the incident was the first stage casualty in the company's 29-year history, according to Cirque spokeswoman Renee-Claude Menard.
Guillot-Guyard, a mother of two, had been with the original cast of "Ka" since 2006. Born in Paris, she is also listed as the head coach at Cirquefit, a program that offers acrobatic fitness classes for children.
With files from The Associated Press