Circus Juventas bleachers collapse during final performance, 450 people fall


At the end of the St. Paul youth circus's final performance, half of the audience fell as the bleachers underneath them collapsed. About 450 people fell and seven were sent immediately to the hospital for their injuries.

The Circus Juventas performance took place under their Highland Park big top. The accident occurred around 10 p.m. Sunday night as the audience stood to applaud the finale and many members of the audience said they had plans to seek medical care on their own.

UPDATE: St. Paul official responds, says the bleachers were inspected in 2006.

More from the Pioneer Press:

Ambulances took seven people to Regions and United hospitals, and a baby was taken to St. Paul Children's Hospitals and Clinics, said St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard. Rescuers used four of the city's 11 ambulances for the incident, Zaccard said.

Witnesses said several sections of bleachers -- each about eight rows deep -- collapsed sideways in a wave and caused people to fall on one another and pin one another to the ground.

The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but police are investigating.

The performers were doing a three-week series titled "YuLong: The Jade Dragon." The show includes dances, acrobatics, and martial arts from the top students in the program.