One of David Copperfield's magician's assistants was rushed to the hospital with a severe injury during the finale performance of his MGM Grand Las Vegas show Wednesday. A rep for Copperfield tells Usmagazine.com. "During an illusion where David attempts to walk through the rotating blades of a 12-foot high industrial fan, the fan and its platform were being rotated by one of David's illusion technicians," the rep says. "Just prior to David himself walking through the fan, [the assistant] was accidentally pulled into the vortex of the moving fan blades, causing injury to his arm and face." The Clark County Fire Department confirms that they received a call at 11:25 p.m. from the theater. "It was reported that someone's arm was stuck in a fan prop," Scott Allison, the fire department's spokesperson, tells Us.When paramedics arrived, the assistant's arm was free and had suffered severe bleeding. The assistant, named Brandon (his last name is withheld for his privacy), broke his arm in multiple places. "The surgery was several hours wherein the doctors could insert pins and bolts," the rep says. "There was a puncture on his face requiring eight or nine stitches. The Copperfield crew waited at the hospital during his arm and face surgery."
Copperfield was there when he woke up and presented him with a children's magic set to practice on during his recovery, his rep says. "Brandon is a fantastic guy that has been with our team almost a year and is a loyal and hard-working illusion technician that is truly loved by all who know him," Copperfield tells Us. "If he gets too good with the magic set, I'm in big trouble!" An eyewitness to the incident tells Us that when it happened, the audience "heard a thump." The eyewitness adds: "One of the assistants dropped to the floor. The curtain came down partially. Blood was everywhere, and the other assistants dragged the victim back. Then the curtain closed all the way." Shortly after, "Copperfield came out and said, 'We have an emergency and we might have to end the show...please give me two minutes.' He came back a minute later and said, 'I'm sorry, the show is over...if you want your money back, refunds will be given," says the audience member.So You Think You Can Dance judge Mary Murphy -- who happened to be in the audience that night -- calls the moment "shocking."
"Everyone around me thought it was a joke; part of the show," she tells Us. "But from my vantage point I could see clearly how serious it was. I pray that he is all right."
According to Copperfield's rep, Brandon is still in the hospital. But the show will go on. The hotel source tells Us: "From what I've been told, David still intends to do both his shows this evening, as scheduled." "The show will go on thanks to David's amazing, hard-working crew, after rehearsing all day to fill in for Brandon," Copperfield's rep says. "Many people assume that the death-defying illusions I do on stage are not dangerous," Copperfield tells Us. "This unfortunate accident shows that couldn't be further from the truth, and we're just thankful that Brandon's injuries weren't worse. An MGM spokesperson had no comment. Copperfield's 90-minute show, "An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion," is scheduled to run through January.