Henrietta Grotefent, performing Monday night (15 April) at the top of a 50-foot pole at the Shrine Circus in Omaha, Nebraska (American West).
Henrietta Grotefent, performing Monday night (15 April) at the top of a 50-foot pole at the Shrine Circus in Omaha, Nebraska (American West).She fell to her death Thursday night (18 April).The performer, called "Miss Rietta" in her circus act, was a member of the "Great Wallendas", the death-haunted circus aerialist family.Her husband, Arthur, is a half-brother of Karl Wallenda, 58 year old head of the aerial troupe.
Yetta, as she was known, was performing at the top of her pole, when she seemed to stoop to adjust an ankle strap.Her body arched backward and fell, hitting a guide wire 15 feet above ground.This spun her around so she fell face down.She never made a sound as she fell to her death.And spectators thought it all was part of the act, until there were groans from the audience and children began to cry.
Mrs.Grotefent was the third member of the Wallenda family, known as the Flying Wallendas, to die in 15 months.Two others were killed when a pyramid of seven collapsed on a high wire in Detroit.
Her husband served as the dead woman's rigger and property man.He once had been a star aerialist himself.
Mrs.Grotefent was 42.She had been a veteran of a lifetime under the big top.
Film shows the aerialist performing and various cutaways to the audience.