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Yetta Wallenda Plunges to Death Before 5,000 Horrified Spectators

April 18, 1963 - A third member of the Flying Wallenda circus family plunged to her death tonight from a swaying pole before 5,000 horrified spectators in Omaha, Nebraska. Yetta Wallenda, who was known in her act as Miss Reitta, was dead on arrival at the hospital after an emergency rescue squad tried vainly to revive her on the floor of the city auditorium. Miss Wallenda had reached the finale of her act when the accident occurred. She was standing atop a 50-foot pole and swaying in a wide arc when she suddenly fell backward. Her body struck a guy wire, and she landed face down on the floor. The audience at the Tangier Shrine Circus was silent a moment, then some spectators broke into sobs. Members of the rescue squad worked over the aerialist for about 10 minutes before she was placed on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital. She had suffered a broken neck. After Miss Wallenda was removed from the auditorium, the house lights went up, and the show resumed. The audience was not told the aerialist had been killed. She was the third member of the Flying Wallendas to die in a fall in the last 16 months. On Jan. 30, 1962, two members of the troupe fell to their deaths while performing at a Shrine circus in Detroit. Two others were injured. One of them, Mario Wallenda, was paralyzed.


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