Human cannonball dies as safety net collapses

The stuntman, called Matt the Manx Crank, was fired 50 feet into the air, but slammed into the ground, The Sun reported Tuesday.

The 23-year-old lay motionless with blood pouring out of his mouth. He was taken to hospital where he died. He had given a thumbs-up sign and waved to the 2,000-strong crowd before entering the barrel of the giant gun at Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Shows in Detling, Kent.

The onlookers, including children, chanted "5-4-3-2-1" and "Fire!".  He was then launched into the air. But, as soon as he fell, the shocked announcer said:  "Whoa - hang on, hang on. We need the St John Ambulance."

Rob Hutchinson, an eyewitness, was quoted as saying that "he climbed out on top, climbed down into the tube, they gave this countdown then he came out of the tube".

"He turned over and then you can see the net is flat on the floor, not up in the air, and he is coming down head-first towards the ground. I saw him hit the floor and bounce. It was like a dummy being thrown."

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