Circus surprise: Elephant on the loose

A startled elephant took a wrong turn backstage and broke through the main prop door leading into the Colonial Life Arena during the afternoon pre-show for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Saturday.

The spooked elephant, one of two lined up to enter the arena later, turned down a wrong hallway and knocked over the arena’s prop door, said Crystal Drake, spokeswoman for the circus.

About 100 spectators on the floor watching the pre-show saw the elephant break through the door toward them and rumble around the performance area, just a few feet away. Most people scurried away quickly, while others thought it was part of the show and stayed put.

No one was hurt in the incident, and the female elephant was quickly enticed back to where she was supposed to be, Drake said. The commotion ended the pre-show prematurely, without one of the elephants painting a picture for a giveaway.

The main show went on as scheduled a few minutes later.