The nine men had used their ladders to form a display on top of one of their fire engines driving through the Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta at slow speed along streets lined with crowds on Monday.
But as the vehicle neared the municipal council offices with its sirens sounding full-blast, the pyramid collapsed as the firefighters veered violently to the left and plunged several feet to the ground.
The man at the top - who was fortunately wearing a helmet - could be seen desperately clinging onto his ladder before crashing through a palm tree at the side of the road.
Three of the men below him missed the side of the fire engine and ended up injured on the ground.
A shocked American bystander repeated ‘Oh no!’ over and over again in the aftermath of the shocking incident before adding ‘Something terrible happened here.”
Footage of the moments after the fall showed bystanders hugging each other in disbelief as other firefighters rushed to aid their companions.
The video also showed the panicked gestures of a firefighter conducting the tricky acrobatics display from the top of the vehicle as he realised his friends were losing their balance and waved his arms around in a futile effort to help them restore order.
The incident happened during a traditional parade to mark Mexico’s Revolution Day, marking the start of a major ten-year armed struggle which transformed the country’s culture and government.
Today it emerged all the men had survived and were expected to make a full recovery.
Puerto Vallarta’s mayor Arturo Davalos Pena was pictured visiting the injured firefighters in hospital.
Four were allowed home after treatment but four, including three who suffered broken bones, remained in hospital today.
One of the men, named locally as Maximino Castillon Andrade, was also said to have suffered a skull injury.
State governor Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval added in a tweet: “Some members of the Puerto Vallarta firefighting team were injured during the Revolution Day parade.
“I would like to inform you that they are being treated at the moment and we will be offering them and their families all our support. I will personally be keeping abreast of the situation."
Click here to see the heart-stopping moment firefighters showing off their acrobatic skills in a human pyramid at a traditional parade cheated death after losing their balance and smashing to the ground.