Australian Olympian Lisa Skinner has been taken to hospital after a fall during a Cirque Du Soleil performance in Brisbane.
Cirque du Soleil aims to shock and demonstrate the extremes of human performance, but on Sunday afternoon crowds gasped for a different reason.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist-turned-circus performer was high above the stage performing a solo rings act when she plummeted about five metres to the floor.
The trapeze artist lost consciousness when she hit the ground.
The 35-year-old was taken in a neck brace from the big top to hospital and there are fears she could have a spinal injuries.
"She was doing a hoop from the ceiling and she was suspending and doing a twisty thing and going through the hoop and then all of the sudden she just fell flat on the floor," one witness recalled.
Children were watching as the emergency unfolded.
The show, a matinee of the circus' latest production Kooza, was temporarily stopped but restarted after Ms Skinner was taken away.
Jessica Levoeuf from Cirque Du Soleil said the situation was something the circus prepares for.
"It's something that we actually rehearse for different scenarios every single week at Cirque du Soleil," Ms Levoef said.
"The safety and security of our artists and our patrons as well is always the number one concern."
"Our first response team reacted very quickly and the performer is responsive, is safe and is under great medical care at the moment."
The three-time Olympian competed in gymnastics at games in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens and is also a Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Ms Skinner has been performing in the dazzling but dangerous aerial hoops for several years.
While her injuries are still being assessed in hospital, for the rest of the cast, the show will go on.
The evening show went on as planned.
A representative of the circus said their thoughts are with Ms Skinner as she recovers.