Stuntman Nik Wallenda completes tightrope walk across Niagara Falls
By Neale Gulley
NIAGARA FALLS, New York (Reuters) - Aerialist Nik Wallenda made a historic tightrope crossing over Niagara Falls on Friday night, stepping onto safe ground in Canada to wild cheers after completing his journey through wind and mist on a 2-inch (5-cm) cable.
Wallenda, a member of the famed "Flying Wallendas" family of aerialists, took a little more than 25 minutes to walk 1,800 feet from the U.S. side in the dark of night over treacherous waters and rocks in a nationally televised event.
Arriving on the Canadian side, he hugged his family and greeted Canadian officials, who playfully requested the 33-year- old American's passport. Asked the purpose of his visit, Wallenda told the officials he had come to "inspire people."
More than 150 years ago, French aerialist Charles Blondin, known as "The Great Blondin," famously walked a high wire strung farther down the Niagara gorge, but a trek over the brink of the falls had never before been attempted.
Wallenda appeared fully in control through the stunt, taking small, steady steps on a slick cable through swirling winds.
"Oh my gosh it's an unbelievable view," he said as he crossed over the falls. "This is truly breathtaking."
ABC, the television network that broadcast the event with a five-second delay, occasionally interviewed him along the walk, asking him about conditions and how he was coping.
"That mist was thick and it was hard to see at times," he said later in the walk, when he was asked about the greatest challenge. "Wind going one way, mist another. It was very uncomfortable for a while." Continued...