Aerialist Falls in 'Hunky Santa' Show at LA Mall

PHOTO An aerialist performing during the November 28, 2009 show, was injured and hospitalized after falling to the shopping center floor.Courtesy LA Times
Aerialists from Hollywood Aerial Arts perform in a demonstration at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, November 19, 2009. An aerialist performing during the November 28, 2009 show, was injured and hospitalized after falling to the shopping center floor.

An aerialist performing in a holiday spectacular designed to draw crowds to the Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles fell nearly 20 feet to the ground as hundreds of people watched.

The aerialist, a 26-year-old woman, slipped Saturday night while hanging upside down from a metal hoop during the finale of the show "Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Girls."

The performer -- who asked not to be identified -- landed feet first and was hospitalized with a broken wrist and pelvis.

She was taken out of the mall on a stretcher. When people saw that the woman was smiling after the fall, they applauded.

Ray Pierce of Hollywood Aerial Arts, the firm that put on the performance, said the woman fell into a video projection cube. She was not wearing a harness and there were no nets to break her fall.

"When we're working over 30 feet, we always use safety net," Pierce said. "The net has to be eight feet off the ground. If it's two feet off the ground, it's not going to do anything."

The aerialist has been performing for more than half her life, and Pierce says she and the rest of the troupe know that risk is part of their job.

Asked if retailers were going to extremes to attract shoppers in this down economy by staging such events, Pierce said the performers were not ordinary people, calling them "top trained athletes."

"It is very safe," he said. "Is it foolproof? No."

The show will go on, with 60 planned performances leading up to Christmas.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.