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Veteran Stuntman Critically Hurt in Fall at Knott’s Show

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A veteran stuntman was critically injured in a fall when he missed a padded landing spot during a show at Knott’s Berry Farm in what officials said Sunday was the first serious injury to a performer in the history of the park.

The stuntman, Jay Mead, 29, suffered unspecified injuries Saturday after falling 25 feet from a water tower in a mock gunfight during the 2:30 p.m. performance of the Calico Square stunt show, officials said. He underwent emergency surgery Saturday at UCI Medical Center and remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit Sunday, said Bob Ochsner, a Knott’s spokesman.

Mead was an eight-year veteran of stunt shows at Knott’s and had performed the fall “hundreds of times,” Ochsner said.

“It’s a pretty typical stunt show, and this was just a routine fall,” Ochsner said. “Stunt work is dangerous, and any fall is somewhat dangerous, but this was considered routine.”

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During the mock gun battle, several of the performers are “shot” and fall into a backstage area out of view of the audience, Ochsner said. The stunt performers are supposed to fall in a safe landing area, but Mead apparently missed it and fell to the ground, he said.

Ochsner said this was the first serious injury to a Knott’s Berry Farm performer in the “50-year-plus history of stunt shows at the farm.”

The Calico Square show was suspended pending the results of an investigation into the incident, Ochsner said.


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