TAMPA — The Cirque Du Soleil aerialist who fell during a Saturday night show in Tampa died from blunt impact to the head and neck, according to an initial summary from the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office.
The fall, estimated at 30 feet, caused skull fractures as well as bruising and hemorrhaging to the brain of 38-year-old Yann Arnaud, the report said.
Paramedics found Arnaud in a coma when they arrived around 10 p.m., according to the report. He died more than five hours later, at about 3:30 a.m., while undergoing surgery at Tampa General Hospital, the report said.
Earlier reports estimated the fall was from 12 to 15 feet. Arnaud hit the stage when he fell.
He fell onto his head and right side and was unresponsive when paramedics reached him, the report said. His breathing was labored and he had suffered severe brain damage.
As they took him 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.
At Tampa General, medical crews could not revive Arnaud and he died as chest surgery was underway, the report said.
At the time of the fall, Arnaud and another performer were conducting a complex routine that involved swinging back and forth over the stage from straps. The day of the show, Arnaud — a French-born husband and father of two who lived in Miami — posted on Instagram that he would be performing a new act for the first time.
The fall is under investigation by the Tampa Police Department and the U.S. Occupational Health Administration. Police said it appeared likely that the incident would be ruled an accident.
The Cirque Du Soleil show "Volta" opened Feb. 14 under tents at Tampa Greyhound Track, Nebraska and Waters avenues. The show was canceled after the fall, with one day left in the Tampa run.
The next scheduled performance, according to the circus website, is March 29 in East Rutherford, N.J.
Contact Jonathan Capriel at 813-225-3141 or [email protected] Follow @jonathancapriel.