Sarah Guyard-Guillot, a performer in Cirque du Soleil’s show Ka died after appearing to slip from her safety wire. The accident happened during the performance in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand on the night of Saturday 29th June.

Eye witnesses said Ms Guyard-Guillot was being hoisted up at the side of the stage when she seemed to slip free from her safety wire and fell 15m (50 feet) into a pit below. Many people in the audience thought it was part of the show at first but when cries of pain could be heard it quickly became apparent that this was a terrible accident.

The show was quickly stopped and an announcement was made that refunds would be issued. Performances Ka have now been suspended until further notice and tickets holders for future shows are also being offer refunds or vouchers.

After being taken from the venue to the University Medical Centre the acrobat was pronounced dead at 11:43pm local time.

The incident is the first fatal accident in Cirque du Soleil’s history.

Mother of two, Sarah Guyard-Guillot was born in Paris and was an original member of the Ka cast, performing with the show since 2006. Her acrobatic career spanned 20 years and she was known by the stage name of Sasoun.

Tributes have been made praising Ms Guyard-Guillot. Guy Laliberte, a Cirque du Soleil founder said: “I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated. We are reminded with great humility and respect how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as a family.”

Ms Guyard-Guillot also taught circus arts to children as part of CirqueFit in Las Vegas. Parents of the children she taught have also been offering their condolences on social media. One parent wrote: “Sarah was a wonderful teacher and a great mom to her beautiful children. We celebrate your life and you will be greatly missed.”

An investigation of the accident is now underway and Cirque du Soleil officials have said they will co-operate fully with the local authorities.

UPDATE: Cirque du Soleil announce that performances of KA are to resume. Click here for details.