- Satanists to use Hobby Lobby rule to skirt state abortion laws
- White House: No choice but to act now on climate change
- HHS: ‘Donut hole’ reforms saved Medicare enrollees $11.5 billion since 2010
- Boston-area tornado rips 100 homes: ‘Are we in Kansas?’
- Rush Limbaugh: ‘There is no journalism anymore’
- Scott Brown struggles for political traction in New Hampshire Senate race
- California’s Jerry Brown cites God, ‘religious call’ to embrace illegals
- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
- Israel flattens home of top Hamas leader, takes out power plant
Nik Wallenda walks tightrope high over Ariz. gorge
Question of the Day
Wallenda walks tightrope high over Ariz. gorge
FELICIA FONSECA,Associated Press Felicia Fonseca
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. (AP) — Nik Wallenda studied the plunging walls of the Little Colorado River Gorge before stepping out on a quarter-mile tightrope cable. “Whoo! That’s an amazing view.”
With that observation, the well-known aerialist embarked Sunday afternoon on a walk without a safety net or harness, 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona.
The successful, 22-minute walk on the 2-inch thick cable was monitored by people around the world via television and computer screens during a broadcast of Wallenda’s most ambitious stunt yet.
They watched as the winds tested the Florida daredevil, and listened as he called on God to calm the swaying cable and as he paid homage to his famed great-grandfather. The stunt was the leading trending topic on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
“It was unbelievable,” he told reporters later. “It was everything I wanted it to be. It was extremely emotional. I got to the other end and started crying.”
Hundreds of people watched from the remote site on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona that led them past roadside vendors selling traditional jewelry and about a dozen protesters who consider the area sacred.
During his walk on the 2-inch-thick steel cable above the dry river bed near the Grand Canyon, Wallenda paused and crouched twice as winds whipped around him and the rope swayed. Gusts had been expected to be around 30 mph. He said they sent dust flying into his eyes.
“It was strenuous the whole way across. It was a battle. The winds were strong, they were gusty,” he told reporters. “But there was never a point where I thought, ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to fall.’”
Wallenda stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way. He jogged and hopped the last few steps.
“Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God,” he said about 13 minutes into the walk.
The Discovery Channel broadcast the even live. He wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the river bed and one that faced straight ahead.
The 34-year-old Sarasota, Fla., resident is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and is part of the famous “Flying Wallendas” circus family — a clan that is no stranger to death-defying feats.
His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico and died at the age of 73. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have perished while performing wire walking stunts.
Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager. Sunday’s stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq