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Circus returns to Rhode Island a year after hair-hanging accident badly injured 8 acrobats

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is returning to Rhode Island a year after eight acrobats suspended by their hair plummeted 20 feet to the ground before thousands of spectators.

A single metal clip that held them aloft had snapped. The women were badly hurt, some with spinal injuries so severe they could no longer walk.

The circus begins its four-day run Thursday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where the accident happened May 4, 2014.

Under a settlement agreement with federal workplace safety regulators, the circus will have all aerial acts reviewed by a registered professional engineer.

A circus spokesman says just one of the women is still with the circus, but she won’t be in Rhode Island.

The others have filed papers in preparation for a lawsuit.