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Counselling for festival-goers after magician shot with crossbow

Magician Brendon Peel accidentally shot his co-star Li Lau in the head with a crossbow in full view of a horrified National Arts Festival audience.

Actor Li Lau (centre) with hospital staff after sustaining an injury during a show at the National Arts Festival on 30 June 2019. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - An audience at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown has been offered counselling services after a side show went horribly wrong.

Magician Brendon Peel accidentally shot his co-star Li Lau in the head with a crossbow in full view of the horrified audience. Lau was rushed to Settler’s Hospital to have the arrow lodged in his head removed.

NAF CEO Tony Lankester said: “We immediately sent an email to everyone affected by the incident and offered them counselling services. There were many children in the audience. They were given the opportunity to speak to counsellors.’

During the show, Carnival Sideshow and Other Magical Things on Sunday afternoon, performer Lau was injured by the crossbow during an illusion performed by Peel.

In a statement released on Sunday night, the CEO of the festival Tony Lankester said: "Lau was taken to the hospital, where he has received treatment. We are informed that the crossbow did not penetrate his skull, and he is fully conscious."

Lau was seen pictured with staff at the hospital smiling and looking well, while counseling has been provided to those who attended the show.

Lankester added:" The Festival deeply regrets the incident and is in conversation with the performers to establish what went wrong with the illusion."

The audience was immediately evacuated from the venue as soon as the accident took place and the show is expected to continue in the coming days as planned.