Wallenda siblings complete daunting Times Square tightrope stunt
NEW YORK - AFP
The undertaking, which was broadcast live, saw the duo start the wire walk on opposite sides, slowly moving towards each other holding balancing poles as a throng of onlookers gawked from below.
When the siblings met, Lijana sat on the 396-meter wire strung between skyscrapers so her brother could step over her, before standing back up and finishing the walk.
Tensions were running particularly high as it was the 42-year-old Lijana's first such attempt since 2017, when she and four others fell more than 9 meters while rehearsing an eight-person pyramid on a wire.
The near-fatal incident left her seriously injured, including breaking most bones in her face.
During the approximately 36 minutes the acrobats took to complete the nerve-wracking stunt Nik, who in 2012 traversed Niagara Falls on a wire, and the Little Colorado River Gorge close to the Grand Canyon a year later, offered words of encouragement to his sister via earpiece microphones, as she audibly prayed and sang.
In 2013 the city had declined him permission to cross a wire anchored between the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.
The never-before-attempted stunt is yet another feather in the cap of the Wallendas, a family famous for jaw-dropping endeavors executed from dizzying heights without safety nets.
The clan's performances date back generations to the Austro-Hungarian empire and debuted in the United States in 1928, as part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
In 1978 Karl Wallenda, Nik and Lijana's great grandfather, who brought the family act stateside, tumbled to his death at age 73 while attempting a wire walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico.