SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Video released by the Sarasota Sheriff's Office shows the moments performers at Circus Sarasota fell 30 feet during a practice run of the Nik Wallenda's high-wire act two years ago.
The practice was being videotaped in February 2017 when five people in a four-layer pyramid tumbled more than 30 feet to the ground.
All five were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but everyone survived. Famed wire-walker Nik Wallenda was involved but not hurt.
At the time, Wallenda said it was a miracle everyone survived. "If you don't believe in God, you better now because it's a miracle. One of the guys was up over 40 feet high on the pyramid and he will walk out on the hospital on his own and he had three broken toes. That's a miracle guys," Wallenda told FOX 13.
Wallenda had planned to unveil the unprecedented eight-person pyramid before a full audience at Circus Sarasota but had done a solo performance instead.
Rietta Wallenda was one of the eight performers rehearsing at Circus Sarasota in 2017 when something went wrong, and she fell 30 feet to the ground.
The video shows the moments Rietta, Nik Wallenda and six others fell from the pyramid. Rietta’s brother Rick Wallenda has performed a pyramid stunt before, and he says not everyone moved at the same time, like they were supposed to.
“The four guys on the wire, they have to be synchronized in their steps,” said Rick.
Rietta was one of two at the top of the pyramid when something went wrong, and she fell, seriously injuring her leg and hip.
“She was coming down head first when some guy from the side came running in and hit her and turned her over so she didn’t land straight on her head. (He) saved her life,” Rick said.
Rietta’s mother Carla said her daughter is still recovering from her leg and hip injures. They said Nik Wallenda took charge of that act, and he posted a response to the video’s release Thursday night.
“I’ve shed a lot of tears if I’m being completely vulnerable, having to relive that accident yet again,” Wallenda said on Facebook. “Having to relive this today has not been fun at all, but I’m also very happy to report that my family, my friends are all doing amazingly well.”
Carla and Rick said Rietta is not doing well because she can’t walk normally due to her leg injuries.
“It’s been really tragic. Every time I see her come out of her house or walking over with her bad limp and the pain that she’s in - in tears, I see her often,” said Carla.
Nik Wallenda’s sister was also at the top of the pyramid and seriously injured in that fall. Nik said in his Facebook video that she is working to come back and perform.
Rietta’s mother and brother said they just want her walking normally again, so she can continue with her career too.