Jun 16, 2012 / 9:00 am
No one else in the world has had the view of Niagara Falls that Nik Wallenda had Friday night as he stared down into the churning waters 60 metres below and was enveloped in the mist from the thundering falls.
One careful step at a time Wallenda battled winds and near-blinding spray to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
Others have crossed the water on tightropes, but over the gorge downstream and not for more than 100 years.
Nothing can beat that view, he said.
"Just staring at the falls from here is breathtaking," Wallenda said after successfully completing his daredevil act. "To be directly in the middle, directly above the falls...it takes your breath away. It's just unreal."
Wallenda was unbelievably calm as he slowly, painstakingly, proceeded step-by-step along the steel cable stretched across the falls. He even found time to give an interview as he was perched precariously over the raging waters below.
"Oh my gosh, it's an unbelievable view," he told ABC, which was broadcasting the spectacle live.
"I'm so blessed to be in the position I am, to be the first person to be right here and to be the first person in the world who will ever be right here."
A crowd of tens of thousands of people packed onto the roadway by the falls, some waiting more than 12 hours to watch the historic performance, and they erupted with cheers as Wallenda ran the last few steps to the safety of the platform anchored in Canadian turf.
"The most amazing part was when he was on the line and he was waving at the people," said eight-year-old William Clements. The boy, who came with his family from Dresden, Ont., jumped up and down with excitement as Wallenda knelt down on the wire toward the finish, took a hand off his balance bar and waved.
Wallenda started his journey on the American side of the falls and finished less than half an hour and 500 metres later on the Canadian side, where his passport was promptly checked by border officials.
"No I'm not carrying anything over, I promise," a tired but happy Wallenda told the customs agents.
The distance and the heavy mist made it difficult for those watching in Niagara Falls, Ont., to see exactly when Wallenda set foot onto the wire, but eventually his red jacket came into view.
"When you first started to see him it just looked like he was floating in the mist," said Greg Cooper, who came from Mississauga, Ont., and snagged a front-row view.
Wallenda has been walking wires since he was a child and had dreamed of this exact stunt since he was six years old. He comes from a long line of aeralist daredevils as a seventh-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas.
"The impossible is not so impossible if you set your mind to it," Wallenda said. "Reach for the skies and never give up."
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