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Circus Performer Falls To Death From Trapeze

April 18, 1988

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) _ A trapeze artist fell to her death Sunday, hitting the floor of a circus tent headfirst before about 900 horrified spectators, police said.

Belinda Amandis, 31, of Sarasota was performing alone without a net about 17 feet above center ring of Circus USA when she missed a maneuver, said police and circus owner David Mobbs.

While swinging back and forth balancing on her back, she attempted to drop upside down and catch the bar with her knees, Mobbs said. Performing without using her hands, she missed the bar and fell.

″She fell forward and she was trying to right herself up, and by doing that she fell right on the side of her face. She wasn’t that high up. She just hit the wrong way,″ said Tom Koenig, 40, of Hialeah, who was at the show with his two children.

His wife, Annie Koenig, said, ″At the second she fell, everybody was silent. Everybody thought it was part of the act. Then we realized what had happened.″

Spectator Carol Johnson of Coral Gables said, ″I saw it when it happened. I just turned my head and said, ’Oh my God. She fell.‴

″The crew wanted to go on with the show in her memory,″ Mobbs said, but the performance was immediately ended because police evacuated the audience. Ms. Amandis was the first act after an intermission.

Mobbs described the solo trapeze act as perhaps the hardest in the circus because there is no one else to rely on.

″She was one of the best in the business. She preferred not to work with a net. She felt it limited her,″ he said.

Ringmaster Roy Houston said, ″I watched the whole thing. I’ve seen a lot of them in this business. It’s part of the risk that you take.″

Ms. Amandis, a native of Denmark, had performed with several circuses and was respected as one of the world’s best trapeze artist, Mobbs said.

Belinda Amandis was the performer’s stage name, police Sgt. Jorge Hierro said, and she also was known as Belinda Nielsen Visingard.

The Miami-based circus had erected its big top across from the Miami Springs River City festival. Mobbs said he assembles the circus two or three times a year for shows in the area.

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