Cirque du Soleil says it will appeal OSHA citations in ‘Ka’ death

Battle scene from the Cirque du Soleil performance of "Ka" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
(Tomas Muscionico / Cirque du Soleil)

Cirque du Soleil said it will appeal the six citations named by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the June death of an aerialist during a performance of its “Ka” show in Las Vegas.

OSHA said Tuesday that it is proposing six citations against Cirque du Soleil, saying that the Montreal company didn’t provide proper training for the performer and didn’t properly assess the workplace for hazards.

Citations from the safety organization often carry stiff fines, but parties have a right to file an appeal. Cirque faces fines that could total more than $25,000.

Aerialist Sarah Guillot-Guyard plummeted to her death during the final portion of a performance of “Ka” at the MGM Grand on June 29. The French-born performer, who was 31, was a Cirque veteran and had been with the “Ka” production for six years.


A spokeswoman for Cirque issued a statement late Tuesday saying that the company has initiated the appeal process as part of OSHA protocol.

“Cirque du Soleil completed an exhaustive review of its safety policies and procedures in the wake of the tragic accident involving Sarah,” said the company. “We have redoubled our efforts to ensure the overall diligence and safety of our performers and crew.”

The company also said that “safety always has been the top priority for Cirque du Soleil, its performers and crew members.”

OSHA said it is also planning to issue three citations against the MGM Grand, where the performance took place. The hotel said it will also appeal the citations.

OSHA contends that Guyard-Guillot fell 94 feet to the ground when a wire rope she was suspended from was severed during her rapid descent. In July, Cirque said that the performer did not slip out of her harness prior to her fatal accident.

The June fatality was the first time Cirque had experienced a death of a performer during a live show in its 29-year history. But in 2009, a Cirque performer died in Montreal after falling off a trampoline during training. Performers have also been hurt during performances of “Zumanity” in Las Vegas, “Corteo” in Portland, Ore., and “La Nouba” in Orlando, Fla.


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