A brother and sister have successfully competed a daring high-wire stunt, crossing New York’s Times Square 25 storeys above the ground.
Nik Wallenda and his sister Lijana walked from opposite ends of the near-400-metre-long wire, a stunt that was shown live on America’s ABC TV and watched by thousands more spectators from below.
They met in the middle, where Ms Wallenda sat on the wire and let her brother step over her, before both continued to the opposite side.
The siblings are from the famed acrobatic family, the Flying Wallendas, and Mr Wallenda is a seventh-generation acrobat.
But he admitted to nerves before Sunday’s high-wire walk – it was the first time his sister had joined him since she fell nine metres in a similar stunt in 2017 and broke nearly every bone in her face.
Two days before the Times Square walk, Ms Wallenda described her upcoming return as “emotional”.
— Nik Wallenda (@NikWallenda) June 24, 2019
Both siblings wore safety harnesses for Sunday’s walk, as required by New York City authorities.
But Mr Wallenda had to unhook his sister’s harness for one particularly tense moment as they crossed in the middle of the wire.
The Wallenda family has been a star tightrope-walking troupe for generations.
They trace their roots back to Austria and Hungary in the 18th century, when their ancestors traveled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers and trapeze artists.
They famously never use nets in live shows or in rehearsals.
— Lijana Wallenda (@LijanaWallenda) June 24, 2019
Mr Wallenda has completed other high-profile high-wire walks above Niagara Falls, Chicago city, and the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park. All were broadcast on US national television.
In 1978, 73-year-old Karl Wallenda died after falling from a high wire strung between two buildings in Puerto Rico.
In 1962, Karl’s nephew and son-in-law died, and his son was paralysed, after a seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance.
Lijana Wallenda’s fall happened during an attempt to break a world record with an eight-person pyramid.