Trapeze artist Erendira Wallenda hangs by teeth from helicopter over Niagara Falls
Erendira Wallenda, the aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda, successfully hung by her teeth from a helicopter over Canada's Niagara Falls on Thursday (local time), pulling off the stunt five years to the day her husband walked a tight rope over the falls.
The 36-year-old mother of three was tethered to a hoop suspended from a helicopter 300 feet (91 metres) above the water.
With the mist from the falls as a backdrop, Wallenda worked herself into a series of dramatic poses, waving her arms as she dangled by her knees and toes and doing handstands and splits. She hung twice by her teeth with the use of a mouth guard.
About 200 people watched on shore at Niagara Falls State Park, many with cellphones aloft to capture photos and video of Wallenda, who appeared as a graceful silhouette against the clouds.
"There are no words. It was beautiful," she said afterwards.
The Wallendas said the stunt broke a height record Nik Wallenda set in 2011 when he hung by his teeth 250 feet (76 meters) above Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
Erendira Wallenda said she was caught off guard by the windy conditions above the cataracts, something her husband had to deal with during his 2012 stunt.
"I respect this man so much more because it was way more windy than I thought it would be," she said.
Helicopter pilot Paul Barth said Wallenda signalled to him to fly higher during the routine to get away from the wind.
"She was trying to get up above the turbulence," said Barth of Palm Beach, Florida, who has worked before with the Wallendas.
"It billows up as you can tell by the spray."
The aerialist spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls.
Afterwards, she and her husband spoke of the attraction of the falls, which has long drawn daredevils.
"There's something almost magical that draws you to it. It's kind of dangerous but it's beautiful in the same way," she said.
County and city officials who helped finance the stunt hope people watching news coverage will feel the same pull.
The city and Niagara County Legislature each committed $35,000 to the stunt with the goal of boosting tourism.