Wrestler Dies on Live TV

03/01/1999 at 12:00 AM EST

As an arena filled with 14,000 spectators looked on in horror, a 33-year-old professional wrestler fell to his death Sunday night when the harness that was lowering him to the ring snapped, dropping him 50 feet to the mat. Owen Hart, 33, who wrestled under the name "The Blue Blazer", is believed to have died instantly after the fall at Kemper Arena in Kansas City MO. The event was part of a live World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view event, though his actual fall was not shown on television. "We at the WWF are saddened by the tragic accident that occurred here tonight," said Vince McMahon Jr., president of the WWF. "We have no answers as to how this happened yet. We will shortly." Hart was attempting a splashy entrance when the accident happened. "We thought it was a doll at first," 15-year-old spectator Robert McCome told the Associated Press. "We thought they were just playing with us." Hart, a Canadian, is part of a well-known wrestling dynasty -- his father and six brothers have all been in the ring. He is survived by his wife and two small children.

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