Were the Flying Wallendas One of the Most Iconic or Ill-Fated Performers in Circus History?

Yana Bostongirl

Wikipedia describes these famous circus performers as follows: The Flying Wallendas is a circus act and group of daredevil stunt performers who perform highwire acts without a safety net." The brainchild of Karl Wallenda, the act was initially started with his two brothers and a teenager, Helen Kreis, who later became Karl's wife. They later made their debut at Madison Square Garden for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1928.

According to an article that appeared on grunge.com, The Flying Wallendas have been credited for accomplishing the following: "Members of the famous family have invented daring new acts, crossed waterfalls and canyons stories above the ground, toured with America's biggest circus show, and broken several world records. They've appeared on a variety of TV programs and performed all over the globe."

One of the acts that The Flying Wallendas are famous for is the seven-person chair pyramid.

However, despite their fame and many accomplishments, The Flying Wallendas are no strangers to tragedy. In fact, their name, originally The Great Wallendas, was nicknamed The Flying Wallendas following a comment by a reporter after witnessing a fall during a performance: "The Wallendas fell so gracefully that it seemed as if they were flying."

An article published by mysuncoast.com goes on to describe the myriad accidents that plagued the troupe during the years they were active including a fire that broke out in the Big Top they were performing in, killing 167 people in 1944, to an accident involving a seven-person chair pyramid that killed two of the performers in 1962 and a stunt gone wrong in Puerto Rico that killed Karl Wallenda in 1978.

In 2017, tragedy struck again when an eight-person chair pyramid collapsed in Sarasota Florida. Five people fell to the ground including Lijana Wallenda who broke every bone in her face and had to be placed in a medically induced coma according to mysuncoast.com.

It has been reported by grunge.com that despite, several rifts in the family, the show still goes on due to the fact that multiple factions of the family continue to perform under the Wallenda name.

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