U.S. tightrope walker Nik Wallenda has made it across Niagara Falls walking on nothing but a thin wire, the AFP reported. Cheered on by throngs of spectators, the skilled performer fulfilled his childhood dream on June 15.
On the U.S. and Canadian sides of the border, crowds flocked to see the death-defying daredevil act. The 33-year-old successfully walked across a cable suspended approximately 200 feet above the largest waterfall in America. Wallenda remained focused as he walked from New York to Canada with nothing but a balancing pole to keep him from plunging. Braving the intense winds and damp spray, he completed his 25-minute task.
The event was broadcast on television by ABC with a five-second delay. The acrobat wore a water-proof suit and suede-soled slippers designed by his mother, according to the AFP. As he embarked across the gargantuan waterfall, TV lights blared on him the entire way, with millions of people watching the feat.
Wallenda was wearing a two-way radio and a small earpiece so that he could communicate with his father, who ABC identified as Terry Troffer.
My God, it's incredible, it's breathtaking, he said soon after beginning the trip.
Wallenda also said that in addition to strong mental focus, the stunt can be incredibly draining physically.
This is so physical, not only mental but physical, he said according to the AFP. Fighting the wind isn't easy. I feel my hands are going numb.
As his father offered words of encouragement, the crowd went wild when Wallenda reached the other side. The performer briefly kneeled on the wire before transferring back to the ground. Wallenda was attached to a harness that would have saved him from plunging to his death, and would have allowed him to climb back on to the high wire.
At a press conference after the event, Wallenda described the environmental factors that made the task particularly challenging.
The mist was worse than I have thought, he said. The winds were pretty wild out there.
He also added that it's been worth every minute and every penny. I loved every minute of it.
Ten-year-old spectator Erik Churuk was truly amazed by Wallenda's skill.
He should be part of history, he said to the New York Times as he watched the event.
Wallenda's two children, 9 and 11, were both watching. The acrobat plans to conquer the Grand Canyon next, which is three times longer than Niagara Falls. He already has a permit, according to the AFP, and the act will take place in about three to five years.
Nik Wallenda is one of the many members of the family that has come to be known as The Flying Wallendas. They are famously known for venturing across thin wires without a safety net, and the current name was coined by the press in the 1940s. The family stunt act dates back to 1922 when it originated with Karl Wallenda, who was born in Magdeburg, Germany.
Nik Wallenda has achieved six Guinness World Records, the most recent in 2008.
Check out the video below to see Wallenda's incredible journey across Niagara Falls.