News US man walks cable stretched across Niagara Falls

ky

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Nik Wallenda, a member of the famed "Flying Wallendas" family of aerialists, walked the half-kilometre, 5 centimetre-width cable stretched across the falls live on American ABC television.

The TV network was quick to assure the public that was broadcasting the event with a five-second delay and insisted he wear a safety harness connecting him to the cable - a first for the performer - and warned it would stop broadcasting if he unhooks it.

Wallenda fought the condition at first, eventually agreeing. But he gave himself an out: he will unhook only if directed to do so by his father, who designed the harness and will act as his safety coordinator.
"I'm a man of my word," Wallenda said.

ABC, however, maintained that a problem with the tether would spell the end of the stunt.

"If there is a safety issue, if the tether gets snagged, then Nik would simply sit down on the wire. Untethered, we will not be broadcasting a live image of him," said Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president at ABC News.
If the harnessed Wallenda fell, ABC said it would switch its cameras to a wider angle and begin covering the entertainment event as a news story, Schneider said.

Wallenda said roughly a billion people internationally would be watching his 45-minute stunt, but Schneider declined to provide an audience estimate.
Before the event, Wallenda said he was jittery with excitement about fulfilling his childhood dream.

"It's more anticipation and eagerness, but it's all coming down to the wire, no pun intended," Wallenda said at a news conference on Thursday.
There were 4,000 tickets that sold out in less than 5 minutes when the event went on sale in recent weeks, and crowds began gathering early on Friday (local time).

"Hopefully it will be very peaceful and relaxing," Wallenda said.

"I'm often very relaxed when I'm on the wire." He added, "There may be some tears because this is a dream of mine."

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More than a century ago, an aerialist known as the Great Blondin walked a high wire strung farther down the gorge, but a trek over the brink of the falls has never been attempted.

Since the Great Blondin took his high-wire walk, a ban has been in place on similar stunts over the famed falls. Wallenda waged a two-year crusade to convince U.S. and Canadian officials to let him try the feat.
A private helicopter rescue team is part of the $1.3 million that Wallenda said he has spent on the walk.

Kathy Swoffer, of Port Huron, Michigan, who had set up a lawn chair hours before the event, said she had seen the Wallendas perform years earlier in Detroit.

"I think it's a person wanting to do what they do for a living and fulfilling a lifelong dream," she said.

"We got our binoculars and we are good to go."

Wallenda's great grandfather Karl Wallenda died in 1978 during a walk between two buildings in Puerto Rico at age 73. Wallenda repeated that walk last year with his mother.

Wallenda said he has obtained permits for a future walk over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which would be the first ever attempted and roughly three times longer than the walk over Niagara Falls.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-...-cable-stretched-across-niagara-falls/4074652

Watching it live was amazing, I was nervous he might fall but he made it through.
 

PhantomCruiser

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Pretty impressive to watch. One of those once-in-a-lifetime events.
 

Eli13

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Pretty cool stuff. Something to tell the grandkids, eh? But they'll probably see it on whatever the internet is then. :p
 

Andy44

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If he was tethered then it's watered down. Risk of death is the whole point of these stunts. But it's still an accomplishment.

I remember the death of his great grandfather on the news when I was little; remember the footage of him falling quite clearly. I looked it up and sure enough it's on youtube.
 
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