David Blaine Has Begun His Ascension Balloon Stunt Live On YouTube
The stunt will see the 47-year-old float through the air using a bunch of helium balloons - much like the house in Up.
The stunt, which is said to have been '10 years in the making', was originally due to take place in his hometown New York City on 31 August, but due to windy conditions in The Big Apple it was moved to Page, Arizona, today (Wednesday).
Blaine is expected to go as high as 18,000 feet (about 3.4 miles) and the flight and landing is expected to take around an hour.
Blaine said the stunt is his most 'ambitious' yet and the operation is extremely complex. Beyond the obvious risk of balloons popping, there is the threat posed by winds, as well as the risk of hypoxia (life-threatening oxygen deprivation) and hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature).
As of yesterday, the plan was to use 42 eight-foot balloons and 10 smaller balloons (4-6 feet each), though this configuration was reassessed with a final weigh-in before take-off (you can calculate how many helium balloons it would take to lift you into the air here).
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After following a series of instructions, Blaine will let go of the balloons and parachute to the ground.
Blaine is no stranger to headline-grabbing stunts such as this - he spent 44 days suspended in a 3ft x 7ft x 3ft box near Tower Bridge in London. When he emerged weeks later, he was 60lbs lighter and showing symptoms of starvation.
He's also buried himself alive, spending a week under a massive tank of water, surviving off just a few tablespoons of water.
Blaine tested his endurance further when he spent 73 hours stood on a 22-foot high pillar in New York, while one million volts were directed at him throughout.
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/David Blaine
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