Ringmaster Jan Brenner with human cannonball Shane Beare who broke his ankle. Pictures: Albanpix.
Shane flying through the air as a ‘cannonball’.
Shane flying through the air as a ‘cannonball’.

A human cannonball is on crutches after his circus stunt went wrong in front of a West Norfolk audience.

Shane Beare, 26, fell short of his crash mat target after he was launched though the air at 50mph during a show at Mr Fips Wonder Circus at, Knights Hill at the weekend. However, he still managed to stand-up and take a bow  – despite a shattered ankle.

Mr Beare said: “It was adrenaline that got me through but I grabbed the clown and said, I can’t walk.”

After leaving the big top, Mr Beare, thought to be Britain’s  last working human cannonball, was taken to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance. He is due to have surgery there today to realign his right ankle which was shattered on impact.

His left ankle bone has also been chipped with and he suffered ligament damage.

“It was my mistake,” said Mr Beare.

“I’ve done it more than 160 times, but I didn’t feel quite right this time. I had just seconds to  plan my fall.”

The top half of his body just reached the edge of the 15ft by  6ft crash mat, 10 metres from the cannon.

Ringmaster Jan Brenner, Mr Fips in the show, said: “It was a lapse of concentration, human error.”

He said the audience hadn’t realised what had happened, as Mr Beare, of Gorleston, was a true professional and didn’t show that he was in pain. One performance was cancelled.

“It was only when he was carried out of the tent there was great concern. It could have been a lot worse and it’s a shame it happened.

“He will be missed in the show, he was a big part of it. But as they say, the show must go on.”

Mr Fip’s Wonder Circus will be in Knights Hill until Sunday.