Australian Olympian Lisa Skinner has been taken to hospital after a fall during a Cirque Du Soleil performance in Brisbane.
Cirque du Soleil aims to shock and demonstrate the extremes of human performance, but on Sunday afternoon crowds gasped for a different reason.
The Commonwealth gold medalist turned circus performer was high above the stage performing a solo rings act when she plummeted about five metres to the floor.
Ms Skinner, pictured on the right, has been performing for years. Image: ausport.gov.au
The trapeze artist lost consciousness when she hit the ground.
The 35-year-old was taken out of the big top on a stretcher and taken to hospital in a neck brace and there are fears she could have a spinal injuries.
The show continued after Ms Skinner was taken to hospital. Image: 7 NewsImage: LisaSkinner.com
"She was doing a hoop from the ceiling and she was suspending and doing a twisty thing and going through the hoop and then all of the sudden she just fell flat on the floor," one witness recalled.
Children were watching as the emergency unfolded.
The show, a matinee of the circus' latest production Kooza, was temporarily stopped, but was restarted after she was taken away.
Jessica Levoeuf from Cirque Du Soleil said the situation was something the circus prepares for.
"It's something that we actually rehearse for different scenarios every single week at Cirque du Solei," Ms Levoef said.
"The safety and security of our artists and our patrons as well is always the number one concern"
"Our first response team reacted very quickly and the performer in responsive, is safe and is under great medical care at the moment."
Lisa Skinner competing on the parallel bars in the women's team competition during the Olympics in Athens, Greece in 2004. Image: Getty
The three time Olympian competed in gymnastics at games in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens and she is also a Commonwealth Games gold medalist.
Ms Skinner has been performing in the dazzling but dangerous aerial hoops for several years.
While her injuries are still being assessed in hospital, for the rest of the cast, the show will go on.
The evening show went on as planned.
A representative of the circus said their thoughts are with Ms Skinner as she recovers.
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