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BUENA PARK : Knott’s Stuntman’s Injuries Still Critical

The veteran stunt performer injured during a mock gunfight at Knott’s Berry Farm over the weekend remained in critical condition Monday.

Jay Mead, 29, sustained head injuries Saturday when he fell 25 feet from a water tower during an afternoon performance of the Calico Square stunt show--a move park officials said he had performed hundreds of times.

A spokeswoman at UCI Medical Center in Orange said Mead was listed in critical condition with head trauma following emergency surgery over the weekend.

The once-a-day show was suspended for the second time Monday out of respect for the injured performer and to allow park officials to investigate the incident, said Knott’s spokesman Bob Ochsner. But the same cast of about 10 stunt performers went ahead with a separate Wild West show, which they put on three times a day, Ochsner said.

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Officials from Cal-OSHA plan to investigate the incident to make sure there were no violations of workplace safety rules, said agency spokesman Rick Rice.

Ochsner said it was unclear how Mead, an eight-year veteran at the park, came to be injured.

In the show, performers enacting a gun battle are shot at and tumble from structures onto safe backstage landing areas out of the view of spectators. Mead apparently missed the spot and fell to the ground.

“None of the audience members watching the show saw him fall,” Ochsner said. “We will probably have to talk to the performer.”

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Ochsner said it was the first serious injury to a performer in more than 50 years of stunt shows at the theme park.


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