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Actors Union Says Human Error Led To "Spider-Man" Injury

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TWC News: Actors Union Says Human Error Led To "Spider-Man" Injury
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The Actors Equity Association has determined that an actor's 30-foot fall during Monday night's preview performance of "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" on Broadway was due to "human error."

Christopher W. Tierney, 31, the show's main aerialist and the Spider-Man stunt double, was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Doctors there say he is currently listed in serious condition, and sources tell NY1 that the actor received broken ribs and internal bleeding.

State Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Actors Equity representatives visited the Foxwoods Theater in Midtown Tuesday, where they recommended how to implement new safety measures.

In a statement, both the Actors' Equity and the stage employees' union promised to monitor the safety of the performers, stage crew and audience.

Audience members told NY1 that Tierney fell approximately 30 feet during the second act and the show was stopped after the accident.

"He fell very, very quickly and his cable snapped out, and looked like it sort of had even fallen into the audience,” said audience member Jonathan Schumann. “So there was the big thud of him falling, and the immediate sound of the actress, sort of scream, sobbing, so it was very clear immediately that something was wrong."

"You see Mary Jane get on the end of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the actor who was playing the Spider-Man stunt double, he was at the top, all the way upstage. And she screams and gets let go from the bridge, and the actor sort of runs to the end of the bridge and then jumps off to get her," explained Charlie Bernard, another audience member. "But what you can see is the cord or the cable, whatever is attached to him, is either not attached properly or snaps. And as he falls, and he falls way too fast, the cord and the rest of the harness comes with it, you just hear a bang. Then you hear the actress who plays Mary Jane, she was screaming and crying, the audience was a little disturbed and then everybody was quiet."

Tierney is the fourth actor injured while working on the show.

Opening night on the $65 million production was pushed back to February, in part because of an injury to one of the lead actors.

The first preview had to be stopped five times because of technical problems.

However, these issues have not stopped the show from drawing crowds. According to the Broadway League, the show raked in more than $1 million last week.

"You never know what might happen," said one person in line to buy tickets. "It sounds a little creepy, but you never know what might happen."

"We just heard it's a huge spectacle," said another. "And we see pretty much everything that's on Broadway and so this is kind of the hot ticket right now and what everyone wants to see, so we want to see it before it opens because it's just going to get crazy."

Wednesday's matinee performance has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Wednesday evening's performance is set to go on as planned.

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