Tragedy at KA in Las Vegas — Sarah Guyard-Guillot Falls to Her Death During Final Fight Scene

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Sarah Guyard-Guillot, left, and Sami Tiaumassi perform as Forest People during Cirque du Soleil's 'Ka' in 2008 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Guyard-Guillot, mother of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Saturday night after falling about 50 feet from the show's stage during a performance of the show.

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Update, Wednesday, July 3, 2013:
Clark County Nevada Coroner’s Office releases a statement in the investigation of Sarah Guyard Guillot’s death. From the press release, bolding is mine:

The Clark County Office of Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined that Sarah Guillot-Guyard, a performer in KA by Cirque du Soleil, died on Saturday, June 29, from multiple blunt force trauma suffered when she fell approximately 90 feet.

Guillot-Guyard, 31, was a citizen of France and resident of Las Vegas.

The manner of her death was accidental. The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is continuing the investigation into how this accident occurred. The OSHA investigation could take up to six months to complete.

We extend our sincere condolences to Sarah Guillot-Guyard’s family, as well as to her extended Cirque du Soleil family.

Sarah Guyard-Guillot, left, and Sami Tiaumassi perform as Forest People during Cirque du Soleil's 'Ka' in 2008 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Guyard-Guillot, mother of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Saturday night after falling about 50 feet from the show's stage during a performance of the show.
Sarah Guyard-Guillot, left, and Sami Tiaumassi perform as Forest People during Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ka’ in 2008 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Guyard-Guillot, mother of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Saturday night after falling about 50 feet from the show’s stage during a performance of the show.

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I’m so sorry to report that Sarah Guyard-Guillot, otherwise affectionately known as “Sasoun,” fell to her death at Cirque du Soleil’s KA at the Saturday night show on 30 June 2013.  Sarah was a mother of two beautiful little kids (an 8 and a 5 year old) and had been working for Cirque since 2004 at the MGM Grand.  She was also a part of the Cirque family — and if you’ve ever known someone who worked for Cirque, it is truly a family and they are truly devastated at the loss of such an amazing performer.  Furthermore, KA has one of the most scrutinized safety and performance systems of all of the Las Vegas shows, and something must have drastically failed in order for Sarah to have fallen.  Her passing breaks the hearts of the entire Cirque family.

This was the first death accident in Cirque’s 30+ year history, which leaves the production closed until further notice and leaves the cast, crew, and Cirque family hurting today as they mourn the loss of such an amazing person and performer.

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From a press release at KA regarding Sarah Guyard-Guillot’s tragic death:

Las Vegas (June 30, 2013) — The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah (Sasoun) Guyard-Guillot, artist on the production KÀ, that happened on Saturday, June 29th, in Las Vegas. The artist’s immediate family has been informed of the accident.

Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family.

“I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of KÀ since 2006 and has been an integral part of our Cirque du Soleil tight family. We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as a family. “ said Cirque du Soleil Founder, Guy Laliberté.

We have been working with the appropriate authorities and have offered our full cooperation.

Performances of KÀ will be cancelled until further notice.

There aren’t a lot of details surrounding the accident and subsequent death of Sarah Guyard-Guillot, but from comments posted at Sasoun’s memorial page are heartbreaking — each and every one.  Sarah will most certainly be missed, and her talent will go unchecked after being so shortly and accidentally taken from Earth.

Sasoun and her final fight outfit
Sasoun and her final fight outfit

The stories on Sarah’s accidental fall are numerous, but there are a few things that have ringed repeatedly regarding the accident — from the Las Vegas Sun:

According to reports from audience members, the incident occurred Saturday night during the latter stages of the production at MGM Grand. Guyard-Guillot was one of the artists suspended by a wire from the show’s vertical stage in the show-closing Final Battle scene. As she ascended to the top of the stage, she slipped free of her safety wire and dropped to the open, unseen pit below the performers.

After the incident, one eyewitness seated in the middle of the audience and just a few rows from the lip of the stage said Guyard-Guillot dropped from the left side of the set (or on the right side, as audience members face the production) over a distance of at least 50 feet. In the act, performers wear harnesses that are clipped to cables, and that apparatus is designed to keep them in position onstage. Guyard-Guillot was reportedly still in her harness when she fell from the stage.

The show momentarily continued, but then the music halted, and the performer’s screams and groans could be heard from below the stage.

“(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” said Dan Mosqueda, visiting with his wife and 10-year-old son from Colorado Springs, Colo. “Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the choreographed fight. But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage.” Mosqueda’s wife, Annie, has a background in theater and tweeted about the incident soon after it occurred.

Minutes after the artist’s fall, a recorded announcement was played on the theater’s sound system informing ticket-buyers that refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered to those in the audience, and the crowd was dismissed.

From Fox News in Las Vegas, which has quite a bit of information for Fox News:

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From a post at the Examiner:

The accident happened just before the show’s finale Saturday. The scene where the Cirque du Soleil performer was killed is one where the artists are on lines controlled by remotes, hanging 50 feet up in the air…

Witnesses indicate that the incident happened during the battle scene with the vertical stage near the end of the show. Sarah Guyard-Guillot, 31, was suspended by a wire and she slipped free of her safety wire. She dropped into a pit below the performers, and it seems she fell about 50 feet.

The show continued for a moment, but was then halted and attendees were told they could get refunds or vouchers for another show. Sadly the Cirque du Soleil performer died on the way to the hospital, reports indicate.

Authorities are investigating Sarah Guyard-Guillot’s death, and for now further “Ka” shows have been canceled. Despite the risky maneuvers the performers do throughout the various Cirque du Soleil shows, this is the first death that has happened in the thirty years of the troupe’s acts.

Sasoun doing what she loved
Sasoun doing what she loved

A video commentary from Sealight Films:

Please visit Sarah Guyard-Guillot’s memorial page, send the Cirque family a nice message.  Sasoun was taken before her time.  My thoughts are with her children, the Cirque family, and anyone affected by this horrible tragedy.  I’m so sorry to have to report on another entertainment death. I will do my best to get any facts I can to pass on. Stay tuned to JimOnLight.com for more information.

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Sarah-Guyard-Guillot

 

Links:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jul/02/ka-performer-fell-90-feet-her-death-coroner-report/#axzz2Y0pUD9rw