NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erendira Wallenda broke a world record in a death-defying stunt over Niagara Falls on Thursday.
Wallenda dangled by her teeth and her toes while 300 feet in the air, breaking her husband Nik’s previous record for that stunt. Thursday’s stunt comes five years after Nik Wallenda’s historic high-wire walk over Niagara Falls.
Before taking flight for her stunt Thursday morning, Erendira Wallenda told News 4, she had no fear about what she was going to do. “Of course, there’s a little bit of nerves because I’m a performer and I want everything to be perfect. But it’s not like I’m like, “Oh, I’m so scared!” Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,” she said.
In the moments before the helicopter was set to take off for the big stunt, Erendira and Nik Wallenda were still sorting through a few last minute details about how the stunt would happen, including how to attach a specially made mouth piece to Erendira’s hoop, which she would use to dangle by her teeth.
Neither Wallenda ever had any doubt she would be successful. “She’s performed most of her life,” Nik Wallenda told News 4 ahead of the stunt, “And because of that, I’m completely confident in her ability and her strengths.”
Nik Wallenda’s confidence in his wife’s abilities gave her a boost as she performed her death-defying dangle and amazing acrobatic moves on a large hoop, known as a lyra, suspended under the helicopter as it hovered hundreds of feet above the raging water. Nik was inside the helicopter, looking down at Erendira and communicating with her through hand signs during the stunt.
See Katie Alexander’s one-on-one interview with Nik in the video below.
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“It’s comforting to look up and see my husband and he’s like, “You’re good.” And I’m like, “Okay, I’m good,'” Erendira Wallenda said after returning to the ground safe and sound. “Been there done that,” Nik Wallenda chimed in.
Nik Wallenda has been on the other side of this situation before, as the previous record holder for a similar stunt suspended under a helicopter a few years ago, and when he made his high-wire walk over the Falls in 2012.
Now, Erendira Wallenda knows what it’s like to be that close to the water at the Falls. “It felt amazing. It was a little more windy than I expected it to be,” she said.
Erendira Wallenda says she was able to adjust and improvise, and even decided to hang by her teeth twice during the stunt, instead of once, as originally planned.
MORE | Watch the video below to hear more from Erendira and Nik Wallenda after Thursday’s successful stunt attempt.
Erendira Wallenda said she would have liked to stay above the Falls all day if she could, and said she always has a special feeling the moment her hands touch her lyra. “I feel like that’s where God tells me this is what I made you for,” she explained.
The Wallenda’s faith was a big part of the event Thursday morning, as it is in their every day life. Before the helicopter took off for the stunt, the Wallendas joined together for a group prayer, offered by their pastor who traveled here from Florida to be with them.
Their pastor, Burnard Scott, happens to be a Niagara Falls native. “I haven’t been here in so long, but it’s great to be home. It really is. I really miss the place, a nd I really can’t wait to eat some food here. It’s been a while” he told News 4, while anxiously waiting for the Wallendas to return on their helicopter post-stunt.
The stunt brought a lot of people back to the Falls, and put the area in the international spotlight again.
Erendira Wallenda says she hopes the stunt also inspired young women around the world.
“Never give up on your dreams,” Erendira said after landing. “I never stopped dreaming and thinking of things that I could do and I was inspired by my husband, knowing that if a guy can do it, a girl can do it, too.”
“We just do it with a little more grace,” she added.
During a post-stunt conference, the Wallendas said they may do a stunt together in Niagara Falls in five years, to mark the tenth anniversary of Nik’s walk and the fifth anniversary of Erendira’s aerial stunt.
The couple is currently preparing to tour the country as headliners with the Big Apple Circus.
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