Daredevil Completes Niagara High-Wire Walk
A tightrope walker from a long dynastic line of high-wire stunt performers has completed a historic crossing of Niagara Falls.
Nik Wallenda, from the famous Flying Wallenda family, walked directly over the precipice on a two inch (5cm) wire. As a huge crowd watched below, he walked the high wire 190ft above a raging torrent, braving wind, water and spray to cross from the US into Canada. The journey of 1,800ft (550m) took him just over 25 minutes.
"Oh my gosh it's an unbelievable view," he said as he crossed over the Falls. "This is truly breathtaking."Wallenda's sponsors, ABC television, insisted he used one safeguard, a tether that prevented him from falling into the water.The company said it would stop broadcasting if he unhooked it.
About a dozen other tightrope artists have crossed the Niagara Gorge in the past including the legendary Great Blondin, but none attempted directly to cross the Falls themselves.
The father of three said he had dreamed of attempting this since childhood and spoke of his feelings at a news conference before."It's more anticipation and eagerness, but it's all coming down to the wire, no pun intended," he told reporters.
Attempting a walk on a cable that long confronted him with unique challenges. Because it was over water the wire did not have the usual stabiliser cables to keep it from swinging.
The Wallenda family have been performing stunts since the days of the Austro Hungarian Empire in the late 18th Century when they travelled as a band of acrobats and trapeze artists.In 1978 the patriarch of the family, Karl Wallenda, the great grandfather of Nik Wallenda, died when he fell to his death during a stunt in Puerto Rico.