David Blaine, stuntman and famous magician, is tacking his “most ambitious feat yet.” His team originally reported they believed he could reach as high as 18,000 feet, but he reached nearly 24,000 feet before descending back to the earth.
The feat involves Blaine ascending high into the sky using helium balloons. He free-falls for a bit then releases a parachute for a safe landing. Over 700 thousand viewers watch his trick live, which streamed Youtube.
Before leaving for the trick he is calling “Ascension,” he commented on the Youtube video, “Thanks for all of your support. Get ready to see this unfold. Heading out to prep but let me know what you think.” Comments are flooding in as the video streams as fans watch shocked and impressed.
Reaching that high above sea level is a threat to physical safety and survival. Oxygen levels decrease intensely as elevation rises, so inability to breathe well may be an issue. He told Variety earlier that the crew will constantly monitor his vitals in order to avoid hypoxia, which is oxygen deprivation.
He was instructed to release the parachute at 7,000 feet to ensure safety, meaning he will free fall for over 15,000 feet. After his release of the parachute, it is his job to safely find his way to the earth.
Though the stuntman reached higher than originally expected, trouble came as Blaine descended in his parachute, realizing the planned landing site was too far away to successfully reach. Radio advised him to find a clear space, avoiding phone lines and rocky areas. He spotted a clear spot and adjusted his efforts to safely land in the new area. This mishap confirmed Blaine’s fears prior to the stunt. He had told Variety beforehand that his only worry was the landing as he doesn’t have experience with the terrain.
Blaine’s feat looks similar to the famous Pixar movie Up, but he tells Variety this has been a dream of his long before that film came out. After seeing Albert Lamorisse’s “The Red Balloon” with his mother, he had his dreams set high. In the film, a young boy lifts above Paris using magical balloons. Today, he was able to check that childhood dream off his to-do list.
After today’s smooth landing and a cheer from the radio, Blaine exclaimed, “That was awesome!” He then was able to speak to his daughter before entering a helicopter to take him to the “Ascension” team.
“You did it! I love you!” his daughter ecstatically radioed to her father. David Blaine smiled and replied, “This was all for you,” he told her, “Je t’aime.”