Daredevil: Niagara Falls tightrope walk June 15

Associated Press
Nik Wallenda points to Niagara Falls after a news conference in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Wednesday, May 2, 2012.  Wallenda will try to cross the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope June 15. The seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallendas spent months getting the necessary permissions from Canada and the United States for the cross-border stunt. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
.

View gallery

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — The fifth-grader's question succinctly summarized what students and adults were probably thinking: "I'm not trying to be rude but, are you crazy?"

The question was posed to daredevil Nik Wallenda outside Kalfas Magnet School as he described his plans to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope. An hour earlier, the seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallendas stood at the water's edge to reveal June 15 as the date he would attempt what he called "the walk of a lifetime."

"It's something I have passion for and that I love to do," Wallenda told the boy and his classmates as they peppered him with questions about his "chances of making it" and whether he was scared.

"I've been walking on the ground only a year longer than I've been walking on the wire," said Wallenda, whose first tightrope walk at age 2 continued a family tradition that began in the 1780s.

His 1,800-foot walk on a two-inch cable will merge the Flying Wallendas family history with the colorful daredevil folklore of Niagara Falls that dates back more than 150 years, when the "Great Blondin" made regular high-wire trips across the Niagara River gorge, downstream of the falls.

Wallenda would be the first to walk above the falls themselves.

"I pinch myself all the time," said Wallenda, who said the walk has been his dream since he first visited the natural wonder with his parents as a 6-year-old. "It doesn't feel like reality."

It took an act of New York's Legislature and persistent lobbying of Canadian officials to make the attempt possible. New York and Ontario law prohibit stunting at Niagara Falls but a single exception was made for Wallenda as a way to pay tribute to the daredevil past while boosting tourism now.

Wallenda signed final agreements in both countries Tuesday afternoon.

While the June 15 date doesn't give tourism officials as much time as they'd hoped to promote it, many were confident the walk would put Niagara Falls in the minds of travelers well after it ends.

"You cross two brands like Niagara Falls and Nik Wallenda and it's like a chemical reaction, creating worldwide attention," said Roger Trevino, a Niagara Falls developer, who watched as Wallenda described his plans.

"Just think," said state Sen. George Maziarz, who sponsored the New York legislation, "the next day, every newspaper in the world is going to have a picture of Nik Wallenda on that tightrope in front of Niagara Falls."

Wallenda's school visit kicked off what he said will be regular talks to students about the importance of setting goals, staying healthy and relentlessly pursuing dreams. He'll begin outdoor training sessions May 12, working on a practice wire at the Seneca Niagara Casino amid machine-generated wind and mist simulating what he'll encounter during the real thing. Visitors will be able to watch for free.

Wallenda's walk, likely to take place in early evening, will take 30 to 40 minutes. Whether he goes from New York to Canada or the other direction will depend on the weather. He's trying to work out a television deal with an undisclosed network to broadcast the event live.

View Comments (17)

Recommended for You

  • Brad Pitt Is Skipping His Movie Premiere Because of His 'Family Situation'

    Brad Pitt will not be walking the red carpet tomorrow, he told ABC News.The actor, who narrates Terrence Malick's documentary, "Voyage of Time," is skipping the film's premiere as a result of recent events that have taken place in his personal life.Last week, news broke that Pitt's relationship…

    Good Morning America
  • ‘DWTS’ Season 23: Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry Booted from Ballroom in Week 3

    Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was sent packing from “Dancing With the Stars” tonight after just three weeks of competition. “My daughter’s getting married October 15th and I can promise you I will look good on the dance floor for her,” Perry said, referring to the instruction he had received on the…

    Good Morning America
  • Man Arrested in Connection With Bronx Blast That Killed Firefighter, Injured More Than a Dozen Others

    Julio Salcedo, 32, was arrested this afternoon in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, the law enforcement source said. Fire officials and police originally responded to the single-family house in the Bronx this morning after receiving a report of a gas odor, Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro said at a news…

    Good Morning America
  • Serena Williams 'Won't Be Silent' on Race-Related Police Incidents

    Serena Williams took to Facebook today, writing in a lengthy post that she won't be silent any longer when it comes to race relations and police-involved incidents in America. But Williams, 35, then wrote she remembered the case of Philando Castile, who was shot after he was pulled over in…

    Good Morning America
  • SpaceX Unveils Plan for Manned Mars Mission

    Humans could set foot on Mars within the next 10 years -- at least if SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has his way. Building such a complex system will cost a lot of money -- so much that Musk hasn’t yet named a dollar figure.

    Good Morning America
  • How Hillary Clinton Got Under Donald Trump's Skin During the Debate

    One of the big questions Monday night was how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would try to goad each other into losing their cool during their first face-off. Aaron Kall, the director of debate at the University of Michigan, said he thought Clinton’s attack on Trump's tax returns "was the most…

    Good Morning America
  • Cause of Ohio HS Football Player's Death Determined as Game Video Released

    The Ohio high school football player whose death came two days after he suffered a game-related injury died of peritonitis, or inflammation of the abdominal cavity lining, which resulted from a small-bowel laceration caused by blunt impact to his abdomen, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said. …

    Good Morning America
  • Men Charged After Protesting Ryan Lochte on 'Dancing With the Stars'

    The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office filed criminal complaints on Monday against Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi, who rushed the stage of the ABC show earlier this month to protest Lochte's casting. During the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars," Sotoodeh and Soroudi interrupted the…

    Good Morning America
  • This Mom Threw Out Her Kids' Toys and Got Her Life Back

    Allie Casazza was drowning. In toys.“I had this huge room in my house, dedicated to toys,” she told ABC News. “Bins overflowing with stuff. A $150 light-up unicorn no one played with. The playroom was the bane of my existence.”She describes a scene familiar to many moms. “I’d send the kids into the…

    Good Morning America
  • Gigi Hadid Urges Women in Unsafe Situations to 'Fight Back'

    Gigi Hadid has addressed criticism that she was wrong to fight back against a former TV reporter who manhandled her last week. In an interview with Lena Dunham for her newsletter, Lenny Letter, Hadid said that her reaction was automatic, and that she doesn't regret attempting to elbow Vitalii…

    Good Morning America
  • Young Girl's Emotional Council Speech Laments 'Shame' of Fatal Charlotte Shooting

    Peaceful protesters crowded Charlotte's first city council meeting since the cop shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, with over 50 people speaking out against police violence. Zianna Oliphant, her hair done up in braids and tears streaking her face, brought into focus the stress police shootings place…

    Good Morning America
  • Dolphin Collides With Teen Surfer Riding a Wave in Australia

    A teen surfer off of the coast of Western Australia was surprised when a dolphin jumped straight into the wave he was riding. "I was in a bit of pain when the dolphin landed on me, I think I pulled my back out a bit. Gradisen's surfboard still has a hole from where the dolphin dove straight into…

    Good Morning America
  • 8-Year-Old Writes Hilarious Guide to Third Grade

    One 8-year-old has penned a hilarious, and brutally honest, how-to-guide for surviving third grade. Christopher Bannon, of Staten Island, New York, wrote the guide, simply titled “How to Survive 3rd Grade," for a school assignment, according to his mom, Melissa Barvels. Christopher and his…

    Good Morning America
  • Jennifer Aniston's Husband Justin Theroux Sounds Off on Brad Pitt's Divorce

    After news broke last week that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were splitting, the Jennifer Aniston memes began. Fans took to social media to post jokes involving Pitt's first ex-wife. Aniston and Pitt were married from 2000 to 2005.

    Good Morning America
  • Friend of Man Boating With Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Texted Stay 'Close to Shore'

    The friend of a man who died along with Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez, sent a text message warning to "please be careful" and "keep him close to shore," according to a screen shot posted to social media. The texts, posted to Instagram by Will Bernal Sunday, offered some potential…

    Good Morning America
  • Princess Kate Dazzles in Red on Royal Tour of Canada

    Kate, 34, wore a bright red dress by British designer Preen to the diplomatic reception. Kate’s $1,300 red dress was the most formal outfit to date on the eight-day royal tour of Canada she is undertaking along with Prince William and their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Kate…

    Good Morning America
  • Adele Honored for '25' Diamond Status

    If you needed further proof that Adele’s "25" continues to be a monster hit, here it is: the album has been certified 10-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. That officially makes "25" a diamond-certified record.The singer was presented with a plaque celebrating the…

    Good Morning America