What to Know
- Two siblings from the famed Flying Wallendas circus family crossed Times Square on a high wire between skyscrapers on Sunday
- They walked from opposite ends of the 1,300-foot wire suspended between the towers, crossing each other in the middle
- There was one scary moment, Nik Wallenda said -- when his sister knelt so he could step over her while they crossed paths 25 stories high
Nik Wallenda says he "freaked" out when his balancing pole slipped during a high-wire walk with his sister 25 stories above Times Square.
The daredevil said in a Monday interview on "Good Morning America," hours after the harrowing feat, that the scare happened as his sister Lijana knelt so he could step over her while they crossed paths 1,300 feet above the pavement.
"My pole started to slide down," he said, adding that he briefly lost his grip. "It freaked me out for a second" — though his voice and facial expression remained outwardly calm during riveting close-ups shown on television.
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Lijana Wallenda was performing with him for the first time since she had a near-fatal fall in 2017.
She conceded that she felt "a little shaky in the legs" for the first 20 feet.
But "it becomes home," she said. "This is what I've done my whole life. ... It's peaceful."
Lijana Wallenda said she could have quit wire walking after her traumatic fall but "I wouldn't let that fear consume me."
She is "living proof" that anybody can step out of their comfort zone and overcome their own fears, her brother said.
After conquering Times Square, Nik Wallenda says he's got his eye on an "active volcano."
The Wallenda family has been a star tightrope-walking troupe for generations, tracing their roots to 1780 in Austria-Hungary, when their ancestors traveled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers, and trapeze artists. They never use nets in live shows or in rehearsals.
In 1978, 73-year-old Karl Wallenda fell to his death from a high wire strung between two buildings in Puerto Rico. In 1962, Karl Wallenda's nephew and son-in-law died, and his son was paralyzed, after a seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance. Lijana Wallenda's fall happened during an attempt to break a Guinness world record with an eight-person pyramid.
Nik Wallenda's high-wire walks above Niagara Falls, the Chicago skyline, and the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park were broadcast on national television.