#MIHistory – Jan. 30: Flying Wallendas Tragedy

Two members of the Flying Wallendas, a high-wire circus act, died during a Shrine Circus performance at the State Fair Coliseum in Detroit on this day in 1962. A member of the troupe making his first performance called out, “I can’t hold on anymore,” and fell 35 feet to the ground. Two others subsequently fell. Of the three, Richard Faughnan and Dieter Schepp died, and Mario Wallenda was paralyzed.

Undaunted, the uninjured members of the Flying Wallendas performed the following night.

Members of the Flying Wallenda troupe practice in Sarasota, Fla., in the 1960s.

Members of the Flying Wallenda troupe practice in Sarasota, Fla., in the 1960s.

 

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