Daredevil tightropes across Niagara Falls | News | DW | 16.06.2012
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Daredevil tightropes across Niagara Falls

A 33-year-old American has become the first person to tightrope walk across the Niagara Falls on the US-Canadian border.

Nik Wallenda, who is from a well-known family of aerialists who call themselves the "Flying Wallendas," has completed a nighttime tightrope walk across the massive Niagara Falls waterfall on the US-Canadian border.

The 33-year-old father of three inched through the foggy mist of the waterfall, directly over the vertical drop of over 50 meters before reaching safe ground in Canada.

It took him roughly 25 minutes to cross the the 550-meter-long (1,800-ft.) stretch.

After accomplishing what he described as his childhood dream, Wallenda told reporters: "I feel like I'm on cloud nine right now."

Wallenda described the view as "breathtaking" but also described the difficult conditions, with wind "coming from every which way," and mist so powerful, it had to make him blink it away to maintain his vision. All in all, he described his walk as "a very unique, weird sensation."

While he said prayer had helped, it was "all about the concentration, the focus, and the training."

Around 110,000 people crowded the shores of both countries to watch the stunt and millions followed it live on TV.

Around a dozen daredevils have tried to cross the Niagara Falls downriver. This is the first time anyone has crossed directly over the falls. Authorities have banned such stunts since 1896. Wallenda waited two years before he received permission.

sb/mz (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)