American daredevil Nik Wallenda has walked a tightrope suspended above the crater of a volcano known as the “Mouth of Hell”, taking half an hour to cross the boiling lake of lava.
Wallenda wore goggles and a respirator to protect himself from the noxious gases spewing from the Masaya Volcano’s lava lake during Wednesday’s 500-metre crossing.
The Nicaraguan volcano is 635 metres high, and one of only eight volcanoes in the world to have an active lava lake.
Wallenda, the seventh generation of the famed Great Wallendas family of stunt daredevils and circus performers, said wind gusts troubled his balance during the crossing, while the gases affected his eyes despite the goggles.
Wallenda has previously walked a high wire across Niagara Falls and crossed between two towers in Chicago while blindfolded. In June 2019, he and his sister Lijana crossed paths on a high-wire strung 400 metres above New York’s Times Square.
But he said crossing the Mouth of Hell was the longest and most dangerous highwire walk of his life. The tightrope – a five-centimetre-thick steel cable – strung for the crossing dipped nearly 20 metres at the start of his walk, and then climbed 20 metres at the far end.
Afterwards, Wallenda said he was “relieved” to have made it safely to the other side.
Unusually for Wallenda, he wore a safety harness for the volcano crossing, which was filmed for American ABC’s Volcano Live! special and a local TV channel.
The show began with his wife, acrobat Erendira, performing pirouettes on a hoop suspended over the lava lake.