A human cannonball dressed as Captain America was left unconscious after his circus stunt went terribly wrong in front of hundreds of shocked spectators.
The masked acrobat missed the safety net and smashed into a metal rail at Uncle Sam’s American Circus in Llanbradach near Caerphilly, South Wales.
Stunned spectators watched on as paramedics rushed to the aid of the daredevil, who suffered “life-changing injuries” as a result of the incident.
The 28-year-old circus performer, described as one of only six “daredevil human cannonballs in the world to attempt such a dangerous feat”, was captured on camera being shot out of the red, white and blue cannon during the packed circus show.
But disaster struck when the stunt went wrong – and he fell from the air missing the safety net below. Families saw the acrobat crash into a metal rail on the perimeter of the ring – and he was knocked out cold.
Mobile phone footage showed him lying motionless on the floor as circus colleagues ran over to help. Paramedics rushed to the scene before taken him to hospital with “potentially life-changing injuries”.
Audience member Cherokee Jones said: “The show went into an early interval stating they needed to seek medical attention. He was out cold on the floor.
“They opened up the food etc and sold it. They put the guy onto a mat and carried him away behind stage – still no sign of him awake.
“The ambulance arrived in probably about ten minutes and by the time they drove onto field the show was beginning back up.
“I left to take my son to the toilet and they were putting the man into back of the ambulance and shut the door. When we left the show the ambulance was still there and the police had just arrived.”
A statement from Uncle Sam’s American Circus said the “artiste involved will make a full recovery over time”.
The circus was pitched up at Llanbradach Showfield from June 23 to July 3 – 200 miles from its winter headquarters in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
Captain America wasn’t identified by the circus who described him as “our daredevil human cannonball.”
In their promotion statement it says: “Captain America is one of only six people in the whole world to ever attempt to perform such a dangerous feat no gimmicks no pretence his bravery has no limits seeing truly is believing.
“Captain has wowed audiences all over the globe and we are proud to be able to bring him direct from the USA to the United Kingdom.”
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to reports of an incident.
“We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance to the scene, where one person was transported to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff for further treatment.”
A spokesman for Gwent Police said: “A 28-year-old man was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff with potential life-changing injuries.
“The incident has now been referred to Caerphilly County Borough Council and the Health Safety Executive for consideration.”
Caerphilly County Borough Council says it is “aware” of the incident and is investigating.