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A quartet of high-wire acrobats injured in a terrifying Ringling Brothers circus accident thanked supporters and fought back tears Tuesday as their lawyers said they planned to file a lawsuit.
The four acrobats spoke Tuesday at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Eight performers in total were hurt during a May 4 performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Rhode Island when the apparatus from which they were suspended 35 feet above the ground collapsed, sending them plunging to the ground.
Viktoriya Medeiros, who, along with her husband, was the leader of the risk-taking troupe, said they were all severely hurt in the disturbing accident.
"We are trying to come to terms with knowing we will never be the same," said Medeiros. The 34-year-old native of Bulgaria said she was injured so badly she won't be able to return to the circus.
Svitlana Balanicheva, a 22-year-old native of Ukraine, said she felt angels were watching over the troupe the day of the accident to make sure they made it out alive.
All eight performers survived the accident, but the road to recovery has been brutal.
26-year-old Dayana Costa of Brazil wore a neck brace and sat in a motorized wheelchair Tuesday with pins sticking out of her arms. She said her rehab has been excruciating and painful.
Julissa Segrera, 20, fought back tears as she said: "My dream was to be a star performer. Now my dream is to get up and walk."
Lawyers from Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices are representing seven of the eight acrobats, including the four who spoke publicly Tuesday. They said it's too early to tell exactly who they would sue, but that they could include the maker of the carabiner clip that investigators said snapped.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is still investigating the accident.
The eighth acrobat has hired her own lawyer, Clifford lawyer Michael Krzak has said.