Spate of Cirque du Soleil accidents unrelated, CEO Daniel Lamarre says

The president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil says this is the first time in more than a decade he's seen three accidents, one of which was fatal, occur in such a short period of time, but they aren't a part of a trend.

3 employees of Montreal-based company have been injured this week, 1 fatally

An acrobat performing at the Bell Centre as part of the Cirque du Soleil show OVO was injured when he fell five metres Wednesday night. (Associated Press/Cirque du Soleil/Benoit Fontaine)

The president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil, Daniel Lamarre, says the recent spate of accidents involving the Cirque's employees are unrelated and not part of a trend.

This week, three employees of the Montreal-based company were injured in workplace accidents, one fatally.

A 27-year-old man, who hasn't been identified, suffered minor back injuries when he fell while performing as part of the Cirque du Soleil's OVO show last night at the Bell Centre.

According to Urgences-Santé, around 9:30 p.m. the acrobat fell about five metres from a trampoline. His life is not in danger. 

"When something like that occurs, we forget about the commercial aspect of Cirque, and we focus on the human aspect, which is the health of our artists," said Lamarre.

Condolences to Cirque's co-founder

Olivier Rochette, a 42-year-old technician with the Luzia show, died Tuesday in San Francisco after being hit in the head during a rehearsal.

He is the son of Cirque co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix. Lamarre said he personally informed Ste-Croix of his son's death. 

Lamarre said Rochette has worked on a number of Cirque shows and was well-respected and beloved.

"My entire focus right now is to support Gilles' family and to support Luzia, to make sure our people feel that we're supporting them," he said.

A fall in Brisbane

On Sunday, acrobat Lisa Skinner fractured a vertebra when she fell three metres while performing as part of the Kooza show in Brisbane, Australia.

Lamarre said this is the first time in more than a decade he's seen three accidents occur in such a short period of time.

He also said the assertion that the number of accidents involving the Cirque's employees has risen since it was sold is false, pointing out the number of shows the company puts on has increased in the time he's been working there.

The next steps, he said, will be to understand what happened in each situation and make changes, if necessary.

"We have outside experts looking into [the accidents], we have our own safety department, a permanent department at Cirque du Soleil that is also looking into them, and we will do everything we do to continue to protect the security of our employees."

with files from Radio-Canada's Valerie-Micaela Bain