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Flying Wallendas Stun Times Square Visitors With Death-Defying Hire-Wire Stunt

Flying Wallendas Stun Times Square Visitors With Death-Defying Hire-Wire Stunt

Spencer Platt
/ Staff Getty Images

The two siblings that form the circus act "The Flying Wallendas" crossed New York's Times Square on a high wire strung between two skyscrapers 25 stories above the street.

Nik Wallenda is a seventh-generation acrobat, but he still felt nervous when performing. Particularly since his sister, Lijana Wallenda, joined him on Sunday night for the first time since her near-fatal accident in 2017, when she broke nearly every bone in her face.

The siblings walked from opposite ends of the 1,300-foot wire suspended between the towers, crossing each other in the middle, where Lijana sat on the wire and let her brother step over her. Both then continued to the opposite side.

Their latest daredevil stunt was streamed live on ABC and watched by thousands of spectators from below.

Nik Wallenda was joined by his sister Lijana for the daring stuntAP/Press Association Images - Jason Szenes

The two were wearing tethered safety harnesses required by the city in case they fell. The Wallenda family has been a star tightrope-walking troupe for generations, tracing their roots to 1780 in Austria-Hungary, when their ancestors travelled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers, and trapeze artists.

They never use nets in live shows or rehearsals.

The high wire was suspended 25 storeys above the pavement AP/Press Association Images - Jason Szenes

Lijana's fall happened during an attempt to break a Guinness world record with an eight-person pyramid. But she's not the only one that has fallen. In 1962, Karl Wallenda's nephew and son-in-law died, and his son was paralyzed, after a seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance. And, in 1978, 73-year-old Karl Wallenda fell to his death from a high wire strung between two buildings in Puerto Rico.

Nik's high-wire walks above Niagara Falls, the Chicago skyline, and the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park were broadcast on national television.

Thankfully, this was a successful performance. You can watch the full video here.