The Casual Reporter: Stuntman Falls 10 Meters into Arena

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stuntman Falls 10 Meters into Arena

The unthinkable happened. Despite rigorous safety checks over the course of the past 17 years of stunts at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris, one of the descenders that slowly lowers stuntmen into the arena during the stagecoach attack broke. Not the mechanism failed, but the cable attachment swiftly, cleanly, and without warning, broke as soon as the stuntman put his weight onto the descender. Apparently the clip that holds the end of the cable onto itself to form a loop into which the strap is clipped that the stuntman holds, failed. Nothing thus far indicates that the failure could have been foreseen in any way. It was simply a freak accident, a faulty piece of metal that failed. The intent of this article, in any case, is not to place blame but to relate a story of amazing instinct and reflex. Once the cable broke, Adam went into a free fall for 10 meters. He estimated he had about 1/2 second to react, during which time he knew he would have to roll as hard as he could the second he hit ground. So he did, and for a brief moment the impact knocked him cold. Then he moved, slowly rose to his feet, and unbelievably continued with the scene. An accident that should have left him severely injured and quite possible permanently crippled he not only walked away from, but finished an action-packed stunt scene! Immediately after, upon exiting the arena, medical staff escorted him backstage where his vital signs were monitored. He seemed a little dazed but was completely coherent. He spent a night or two in the hospital where he underwent more testing and was x-rayed. He has a hairline fracture on his 4th vertibrae and nasty bruising around his ankles, but other than that he is apparently unharmed. He was released and walked out of the hospital unaided. Today, three days after the event, he was backstage at the show. Ten meters, I kid you not, straight down, perpendicular to the ground. I watched the video and he hit like a sack of potatoes except for the fact he rolled hard to absorb the shock. It is the most remarkable thing I've ever seen. I frankly wouldn't have imagined anyone could walk away from a fall like that and wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it. In my view Adam deserves the award for the most amazing stunt ever to have been accidentally performed at the Wild West Show (and they number many).

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