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Drama Tonight on ABC – Man Walking the High Wire Over Niagara Falls

Partridge Rd. / flickr

High drama is set on ABC tonight, where one man’s daredevil moment could be one the greatest stunts ever seen, or could bring a sure death drop from a dizzying height over Niagara Falls.

Nik Wallenda comes from a family of daredevils – his great grandfather is Karl Wallenda who founded The Flying Wallendas, who were known for their circus high wire acts and death defying stunts.  What they did between the 1930s and the 1970s were nothing more than inconceivable, and sadly not without peril.

One of the most memorable stunts The Flying Wallendas developed was the 7-person chair pyramid.  This was a staple of their act (done without a safety net) until 1962, when a performance in Detroit saw the front man on the wire falter and the pyramid collapsed.  Three men fell to the ground, killing Karl Wallenda’s son-in-law and his nephew.  Karl injured his pelvis, and his adopted son, Mario, was paralyzed from the waist down.

Nik has understood the risk of what his family has done, and now what he does.  At 19 he recreated the legendary 7-person chair pyramid in 1998 (back in the same city where there ’62 tragedy happened), he holds the Guinness Book World Record for the longest and highest bicycle of a highwire stunt (13 1/2 stories above the ground off the roof of the Prudential Center in Newark), and has plans to walk over the Grand Canyon on just the highwire (word is he has the permits to do this stunt).

Tonight the focus for Nik is to walk 1800 feet of wire (with just 2 inches of diameter) over Niagara Falls (170 feet above the falls) with just a 30 foot long balance poll.  Over 125,000 people are expected to be at the falls tonight at 8pm to witness this estimated 30 minute walk, with ABC carrying the event live.

One small slip-up will cost Nik Wallenda his life.  He understands the risks, considering his legendary great grandfather Karl fell to his death in 1978 in a wire walk in Puerto Rico – high winds caused Karl to lose his balance on the wire, and then came his 10-story fall to the concrete (he was 73).

Tonight is truly “High Drama”!  You may want to at least DVR this one tonight!


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