Nik Wallenda Conquers Niagara Falls (video)
US tightrope walker Nik Wallenda has fulfilled his childhood dream of walking on a tightrope across Niagara Falls and into the history books.
Crowds packed the US and Canadian sides of the border to watch the 33-year-old brave strong winds and heavy spray to walk on a cable suspended around 60 metres up over the biggest waterfall in North America.
The hair-raising walk took 25 minutes, less than the expected 35 to 40 minutes. He jumped down from the high wire on the Canadian side at 10.40pm (0220 GMT).
Wallenda wore a waterproof outfit and suede-soled slippers especially designed by his mother. Powerful TV lights focused on him the whole way, as millions of people around the world followed the event on television.
“My God, it’s incredible, it’s breathtaking,” Wallenda said soon after starting his quest.
He later reported being “very wet.”
Soon after arriving in Canada, Wallenda called his grandmother on a mobile phone. “Hey Oma, I love you,” he told her. Wallenda said he had promised to call as soon as he completed the feat because she couldn’t be there.
Any attempt to cross the falls is usually forbidden, but an exception was made for Wallenda, who comes from a long line of acrobats and circus performers.
Fourteen daredevils attempted the stunt and occasionally succeeded in the 19th century before further attempts were banned. However, they were in a much calmer section of the waterfall. Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls at a never-before-traversed rim.
At a press conference a smiling but fatigued Wallenda said he was especially challenged by the mist and the wind. “The mist was worst than I have thought,” he said. “The winds were pretty wild out there.”
And yet “it’s been worth every minute and every penny,” Wallenda said. “I loved every minute of it.”