Friday, 19. December 2014
20. 06. 14. - 16:00
This is the moment when the best laid plans came crashing to earth.
A video camera captured the disaster which befell these gymnasts when they were rehearsing their act at a circus in Yakutsk, a northern city in Russia.
All four plunged nearly 15 feet to earth and ended up in the intensive care unit of a local hospital suffering from a variety of broken bones and internal injuries.
The act called for them to dance gracefully around before they were hoisted to the air on a wire that linked them all together.
Mary Vasilyeva, a worker helping to set up the arena who witnessed the event, said: "They were only hours away from performing and this was their last rehearsal of the day - they wanted to make sure their act was perfect for the audience.
"As they were being hoisted up there was suddenly a sharp cracking sound - it was the whiplash of the wire that they were attached to as it snapped. They screamed and headed for the ground on their heads.
"There was a sickening crunch as they hit the earth. I could hear their smash and limbs cracking. It was terrible.
"I raced over as circus staff flooded into the area. One of them was unconscious but the others were awake and crying with pain. I comforted them as best as I could before they were loaded into ambulances and taken to hospital."
Local police opened an investigation into the accident which may lead to negligence charges against the circus operators. The wire, which was seen to be frayed, was taken away for forensic examination.
The gymnasts were all from the region of Bashkiria and their relatives were being raced to their bedsides on Thursday.
The circus show went on without them with audience members asked to say a prayer for their recovery.
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