Acrobat Sarah Guyard plunged 30 feet to her death during a packed Cirque de Soleil performance at the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The LA Times cited witnesses as saying that Guyard, 31, was suspended from the ceiling by a wire during a fight scene in the show "Ka" when she fell, dropping into the pit below the stage.
Although she was reportedly out of sight of audience members, one spectator seated a few rows from the stage told the Las Vegas Weekly that the show momentarily continued before the music stopped and screams and groans could be heard coming from the pit.
Another audience member reportedly tweeted that the "wire snapped" and the performer "fell fast & awkwardly at least 50 feet."
That person told The Las Vegas Sun:
"Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the [show]. But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage."
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte said in a statement:
"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah [Sassoon] Guyard, artist on the production 'Ka,' that happened on Saturday, June 29, in Las Vegas... Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family."
Guyard had been with the original cast of "Ka" since 2006. She was a graduate of Anne Fratellini Art & Circus Academy, named for the famed French circus clown and actress.
The official website for Cirqeufit, where Guyard served as a coach, said she was an acrobatic and aerialist specialist. She had two children.