NIAGARA FALLS — 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 mouthpiece attached to a hoop for support in accordance with New York state law.
She remained in the air over the cascading falls for around eight minutes, performing a few flips for fun in between.
Despite being caught off-guard by the strong winds, the 36-year-old lifelong performer described the stunt as “a beautiful and amazing experience.”
Her husband, fellow daredevil Nik Wallenda, also leaned out into the air from the chopper above, in order to coordinate communication between Wallenda and the pilot flying the apparatus.
The Niagara County Legislature helped finance the act, allocating a sum of $35,000 last month.
Wallenda’s success shattered the standing world record of 250 feet set by her husband in 2011, when he hung over Silver Dollar City in Brandon, Missouri.
Her performance, which attracted only a handful of curious onlookers, also fell on the five-year anniversary of Nik’s tightrope walk over Niagara Falls. Nik’s walk, by contrast, drew tens of thousands as well as live TV coverage.
Wallenda and her husband come from a long line of daredevils and circus performers, whose acts and records have astounded the world since the 1940s.
Not all the family’s stunts have ended in success, however. In February a high-wire eight-person pyramid, featuring Nik, collapsed.
Others have been fatal. In 1978 Nik’s great-grandfather Karl Wallenda fell to his death as he tried to walk between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
This act, however, left a Wallenda nothing but victorious.
Upon landing on the roof of the Seneca Niagara Casino after the stunt, the new world record holder said she was inspired to attempt the feat by her husband.
“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,” she said.