By Kim Reader
This is the horrifying moment a magician cheated death to survive a 25ft drop from ceiling rafters onto a tiled floor – after a ‘drunken’ stunt went wrong.
Arron Jones, 23, was stunned to see a fellow conjurer shimmy up a pillar and begin ‘monkey-barring’ along the roof during the Blackpool Magic Convention at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens last weekend.
In Arron’s shocking footage the man, who is rumoured to have been drinking, can be seen swinging from rafter to rafter before losing his grip and plummeting at least 25ft to the tiled floor below.
Panicked shouts can be heard from the crowd below as the man’s stunt goes horribly wrong and he hits the ground with an almighty thud, landing flat on his back and banging his head.
But whether by mystical powers or sheer luck, the magician, who is in his twenties, cheated death – although he was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
Arron, from Sheffield, said: “It was past midnight on the Sunday and some people had stayed back after the last show on Saturday.
“All of a sudden I saw this guy start to shimmy up on of the pillars to the roof. I was just stood there thinking ‘what is this idiot doing?’
“I heard he had been drinking but I don’t know why he decided to go up there. The bouncers came out and were shouting at him to get down but he just told them ‘no’ and carried on going.
“When he got onto the steel beams it suddenly got really serious. The atmosphere in the hall completely changed. No one knew what to do or why he was doing it.
“When he got to the top there was no point telling him to stop. He either had to keep going or come back.
“He was trying to turn around when he lost his grip and fell. It was terrifying – let’s put it this way, the loudest scream you hear on the video was mine.
“I had such a visceral reaction, just sound came out. It’s something I never thought I would see and as he hit the ground there was a loud thud.
“The first thing I did was check if he was breathing. We all thought he was dead, that we had just watched him kill himself.
“He could have broken his neck or his spine. He is so lucky to be alive. I think he got away with just a broken arm and hip.”
After the harrowing incident, which took place at about 12.30am on Sunday (Feb 19), an ambulance was called and the man was rushed to the Royal Preston Hospital, where he remains.
And magician David Penn, who also witnessed the fall, said the man’s ‘reckless’ actions could have been a game of one-upmanship fuelled by alcohol.
Dad-of-two David, of Northampton, said: “At the convention you get magicians coming to show their latest tricks and you get some people that want to outdo each other.
“Then when alcohol gets involved, people start to believe they really are magic. It was like he thought he was trying to fly or he thought he was some kind of superhero.
“He must have at least had luck on his side to survive. When he fell, I turned away, I couldn’t watch – and I just heard this crack as he hit the ground.
“He remained motionless for quite some time and I was absolutely terrified he was dead. It’s at least a 30ft drop and the floor is those old fashioned, hard marble tiles. I had a nightmare about it that night.
“Not only did he do something completely reckless but he put the safety of others at risk too. If he’d fallen on anyone he would have done some serious damage.”
Arron and David said they believe the man has now been given a lifetime ban from the magic convention, which is the largest of its kind in the world.
However organisers Blackpool Magic Club (BMC) declined to comment on the incident.
Speaking on behalf of BMC, the club’s president said: “At present, the BMC has no comment to make on this matter. The entire 2017 convention will be discussed at the next convention team meeting.”
A spokeswoman for North West Ambulance Service said: “We got a call at 26 minutes past midnight on Sunday.
“A male in his twenties was not conscious. He had climbed up two floors and had been monkey barring across the roof.
“He had fallen about 25ft onto a tiled floor. He had head and arm injuries and was taken as a major trauma case to the Royal Preston hospital.”