Daredevil crosses gorge near Grand Canyon

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(APTN)

Florida aerialist Nik Wallenda completed a tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile (1.2 kilometre) over the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona on Sunday.

(AP)

Wallenda performed the stunt on a 2-inch (5 centimetre)-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet (457.2 metres) above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon.

He took just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him so that he could get “the rhythm out of the rope.”

Wallenda didn’t wear a harness and stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way

He jogged and hopped the last few steps.

The event was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.

Winds blowing across the gorge were expected to be around 30 miles per hour (48 kilometres per hour), worse than Wallenda expected.

The 34-year-old Wallenda 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.

Wallenda wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that faced straight ahead.

His leather shoes with an elk-skin sole helped him keep a grip on the steel cable as he moved across.

About 600 spectators watching on a large video screen on site cheered him on as he walked toward them.

Wallenda told reporters after the walk that he hoped his next stunt would be a tightrope walk between the Empire State building and the Chrysler building in New York.

(Copyright 2013 APTN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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