Cirque Du Soleil Performer Falls To Her Death

A Paris-born performer in Cirque du Soleil's Ka has died after a fall during a show in Las Vegas.

Acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot was pronounced dead in hospital late on Saturday night after falling about 50ft from the stage at the MGM Grand.

Witnesses told the Las Vegas Sun that the accident occurred near the end of the production.

Visitor Dan Mosqueda, of Colorado Springs, told the newspaper that the performer was being hoisted up the side of the stage when she slipped free of her safety wire and plummeted to an open pit.

"Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the (show)," he said.

"But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage."

The show continued briefly but then stopped. Minutes after the accident, a recorded announcement informed the audience that refunds or vouchers for future shows would be offered.

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte said performances of Ka have been cancelled until further notice.

"I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated," he said.

"We are reminded with great humility and respect how extraordinary our artists are each and every night."

Cirque officials are working with authorities investigating the accident and have offered their full co-operation, he added.

The MGM Grand also issued a statement saying everyone at the company was "deeply saddened by the loss of one of the talented Ka artists".

Guyard-Guillot, a mother of two children, had been with the original cast of Ka since 2006, and had been an acrobatic performer for over 20 years.

The accident happened while Cirque's top executives, including president Daniel Lamarre, were in Las Vegas to celebrate the premiere of new show Michael Jackson One at the Mandalay Bay resort.

On Wednesday night, a performer in a preview performance suffered mild concussion after missing the protective pad below an act and landing on the stage.

That artist is expected to return to the show.