It’s the type of record-breaking stunt that gives new meaning to the term “by the skin of her teeth.”
Daredevil acrobat Erendira Wallenda set a new world record Thursday when she hung by her teeth from a helicopter some 300 feet above Niagara Falls.
The precarious stunt was made to look graceful by Wallenda, who used an iron mouth piece attached to a hoop for support, in accordance with New York state law.
She remained in the air over the cascading falls for about eight minutes, performing a few flips for fun.
Despite strong winds, the 36-year-old lifelong performer described the stunt as “a beautiful and amazing experience.”
“I never stopped dreaming and thinking of things that I could do,” she said. “I was inspired by my husband, knowing that if a guy can do it, a girl can do it, too.”
Wallenda’s success shattered the world record of 250 feet. It was set by her husband, fellow daredevil Nik Wallenda, in 2011, when he hung over Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
Nik Wallenda was on hand for Thursday’s show, leaning out into the air from the chopper to coordinate communication between Wallenda and the pilot.
The Niagara County Legislature helped finance the act, allocating $35,000 last month.
The performance, which attracted national news coverage but just a handful of curious onlookers, also fell on the five-year anniversary of Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk over Niagara Falls, which drew tens of thousands, as well as live TV reports.
Erendira Wallenda and her husband come from a long-line of daredevils and circus performers, whose acts and record-setting stunts have astounded the world since the 1940s. Not all the family’s feats have ended in success, however. In February, an eight-person pyramid, featuring Nik Wallenda, atop a high wire collapsed.
Other exploits have been fatal. In 1978, Nik Wallenda’s great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell to his death at age 73 as he tried to walk on a wire between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico.