Tightrope Walker's Plan: Cross Niagara Falls

Nik Wallenda's attempt would be the first since 1859

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 21, 2011 3:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – A bill allowing a member of the daredevil Wallenda family to attempt a tightrope walk across Niagara Falls is making its way through the New York Legislature. The measure was passed last week by the Senate and was expected to come before the Assembly as early as today. Supporters say it would bring tourism and publicity to Niagara Falls, help the economically troubled city, and carry on a fascinating tradition of death-defying stuntsmanship at the thundering waterfalls straddling the United States and Canada.

Jean Francois "the Great Blondin" Gravelot was the first to cross the gorge on a wire, back in 1859. But it's been more than 100 years since anyone has repeated the feat, which is definitely illegal now. Pending legislation would allow Nik Wallenda, a member of the famed "Flying Wallendas," to traverse the gorge before Aug. 30. Wallenda, a seventh-generation tightrope walker, would bear all safety, security, and other costs, as well as release the state from responsibility should something go wrong. Wallenda and his mother completed a high-wire stunt earlier this month at a site in Puerto Rico where Karl Wallenda fell to his death in 1978.

Delilah Wallenda, right, lowers her head as her son Nik Wallenda, left, crosses over her during their high-wire act in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011.
Delilah Wallenda, right, lowers her head as her son Nik Wallenda, left, crosses over her during their high-wire act in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Nik Wallenda begins his walk across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011.
Nik Wallenda begins his walk across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Delilah Wallenda, top right, and her son Nik Wallenda simultaneously walk across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan.
Delilah Wallenda, top right, and her son Nik Wallenda simultaneously walk across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Wallenda tightrope walkers perform 15 January 2004 during the 28th International festival of Circus in Monte-Carlo.
Wallenda tightrope walkers perform 15 January 2004 during the 28th International festival of Circus in Monte-Carlo.   (Getty Images)
Nik Wallenda wipes the sweat from his forehead as he walks across a wire suspended 100 feet  between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011.
Nik Wallenda wipes the sweat from his forehead as he walks across a wire suspended 100 feet between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
3%
3%
62%
3%
11%
19%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment