Magician Blaine survives his "Dive of Death"

Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:46am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - David Blaine's "Dive of Death" wasn't, after all -- the magician and showman ended up alive on Wednesday night after his 60-hour stunt of hanging upside down in Central Park.

Blaine, 35, had dangled from a cable attached to a large scaffold structure built high over the park's Wollman Rink since Monday, except for regular breaks for water and medical checks during which he was upright for periods of a few to several minutes each.

The spectacle ended during a nationally telecast two-hour television special which was filled out with taped footage of Blaine performing and interacting with fans across the country, and several "do not try this at home"-type disclaimers.

But Blaine had one more illusion for his fans. After ending his suspension, he plummeted some 44 feet from the top of the scaffold, swinging briefly from an attached cable. He then ascended and seemingly disappeared into the night sky high above the park.

Blaine said the hanging stunt got easier after the initial hours as his body adjusted, and he was strong enough to sign autographs, take pictures and even do card tricks while he was suspended.

The stunt was only the latest in a series of Blaine's public antics in New York. In November 2000 he spent 61 hours inside a block of ice in Times Square, and two years ago he lived for a week underwater in an acrylic sphere in front of Lincoln Center. In 2002, he stood atop a 90-foot (27 meter) pillar erected behind the New York Public Library for 35 hours.

Blaine also lived for 44 days inside a transparent box suspended over the Thames River in London in fall 2003.

(Writing by Chris Michaud, editing by Jackie Frank)