A fire-breathing stilt walker is recovering from second-degree burns he sustained around his mouth during a dress rehearsal at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Wesley Daniel, 24, was performing the stunt during the fifth hour of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” an opera by Richard Wagner, on Monday, when his head became engulfed in flames.
“He was trying to put it out and then moved as quickly as he could on stilts, but then he had no choice but to just fall down,” audience member Edward Voci told ABC News Chicago station WLS-TV.
Daniel was wearing a flameproof costume and mask when he attempted the stunt, which was approved by the Chicago Fire Department, Lyric Opera of Chicago said in a statement.
The fire curtain was immediately lowered as guards extinguished the flames on Daniel, the statement said.
Despite the severity of the burns, Daniel’s throat and lungs are fine, his father, Clifton Daniel, said.
He is being treated at Loyola Medical Center and is expected to be released on Thursday.
The fire-breathing stunt has been removed from the performance and the show will go on as scheduled. Opening night is set for Friday, Feb. 8, however