Five years after Nik Wallenda successfully crossed over the Niagara Gorge by walking on a high wire, his wife will be performing her own stunt over Niagara Falls. Preparations, including a practice run by a helicopter taking part in the stunt, were underway Tuesday.
Mrs. Wallenda's stunt, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 15, will involve her hanging from a helicopter by her teeth as it departs from the roof atop the Seneca Niagara Casino parking ramp. The copter will fly above the Horseshoe Falls and, after staying there for a few moments, return to the casino.
Mrs. Wallenda is anticipated to perform a trapeze stunt as part of her performance. Like her husband was five years ago, she will be tethered.
Nik Wallenda's high-wire walk drew a large crowd and a considerable amount of publicity and local news coverage. Erendira Wallenda's stunt, however, has been prepared more quietly as a made-for-TV project. Although there has been less time for local officials to prepare, they made clear that the public is welcome to attend.
"We welcome people to come if they want to check it out," said Andrea Czopp, spokesperson for Destination Niagara USA. "I think as saw today with the test run with Rainbow Air, the helicopter is only 300 feet above the Horseshoe Falls when she will be performing the stunt. It really is still very good, visibly, irf you want to see it."
Czopp recommended visitors come to Terrapin Point on Goat Island and urged people to arrive early, suggesting 7:30 a.m.
Stunts at Niagara Falls are usually illegal but five years ago the Wallenda family was given permission to stage the high-wire walk over the Niagara Gorge. Daredevils, nevertheless, have been a part of the heritage of Niagara Falls since Annie Edson became the first person to survive a ride over the brink in a barrel.
"I think anybody that looks at this falls can say 'wow,'" said Czopp. "That's always the first word when you see this place for the first time and even if you've seen it a million times. The power of this water is so incredible, that I think people are just so fascinated by daredevils and their interest in doing this and their attraction to trying to beat or overcome the power of this water."