Nik Wallenda to cross Niagara Falls
Nik Wallenda has been given permission on Feb. 15, 2012, by the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) to attempt to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope; a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in more than a century. The last person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope was James Hardy in 1896.
Wallenda, 33, is a seventh-generation member of a famous family of high wire artists and has done dozens of daredevil stunts during his long career. He holds six Guinness world records for his high-wire feats. According to earlier reports, Wallenda hopes to walk across a wire five centimetres in diameter and about 550 metres long, anchored by weights on each shore. His own rescue helicopter and dive teams would stand by and his father would coach him through an earpiece throughout the roughly 45-minute walk. He had initially been denied permission. The NPC turned down the American high-wire artist’s first application, which was filed before Christmas. His second application passed unanimously, however. Wallenda had already been given the green light for his stunt by New York state and the mayor of Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Wallenda said he had help in getting the commission to reverse its decision from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Tourism Minister Michael Chan. Wallenda said the economic impact of the stunt could add up to as much as $120 million. On the day itself, he expects 120,000 people to crowd both sides of the falls to watch and for a one-day economic surge in the local economy of $20 million.
The exact date of the stunt hasn’t been decided.
Wallenda said during an interview with CBC News Network shortly after the decision was made, ”It will probably be towards the end of this summer. Probably September, is what we’re thinking.” ■