David Blaine flies over Arizona desert holding helium balloons

2 September 2020, 21:40 | Updated: 2 September 2020, 21:51

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's David Blaine holding onto 52 helium balloons
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's David Blaine holding onto 52 helium balloons. Picture: YouTube
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

American illusionist David Blaine has successfully flown over an Arizona desert holding onto 52 helium balloons in a jaw-dropping stunt.

The 47-year-old's latest exploit, named 'Ascension', saw the extreme performer float almost 25,000 feet (7,620 metres) above the arid landscape below.

During the stunt, the magician was tasked with the toe-curling job of strapping himself into a parachute mid-flight, which he then used for his descent, before unclipping himself from the balloons and tumbling to the ground.

Blaine lifted off on Wednesday morning and took roughly one hour to land - all of which was streamed on his YouTube channel, which described the event as "his most ambitious and revolutionary feat yet".

The beginning of David Blaine's ascent to the heavens
The beginning of David Blaine's ascent to the heavens. Picture: YouTube
David Blaine attaching himself to his parachute mid-flight
David Blaine attaching himself to his parachute mid-flight. Picture: YouTube

"David Blaine redefines magic once again for an unprecedented live event at a time when the world could use a positive distraction," the video caption reads.

"Bringing wonder, hope and untethered possibility, David tackles his most ambitious and revolutionary feat yet."

Speaking in a video before the stomach-turning performance, Blaine said: "Every single stunt that I've ever done is about endurance and pushing past what I thought would be possible.

"I can't imagine that many people would dream of doing it."

The moment David Blaine unclipped himself from the helium balloons and began his descent from the skies
The moment David Blaine unclipped himself from the helium balloons and began his descent from the skies. Picture: YouTube
David Blaine touches down safely on the Arizona desert below
David Blaine touches down safely on the Arizona desert below. Picture: YouTube

He had initially only planned to reach an altitude of 18,000 ft (5,486m), but eventually climbed so high that he needed to take on extra oxygen.

Throughout the stunt, the extreme performer was supported by a team in a nearby helicopter who talked him through the whole process.

Upon landing, Blaine let out a relieved gasp before shouting: "Wow! That was awesome!"

He then spoke with his daughter via radio, who said: "That was great. You did it. I love you."

Watch the full video of the stunt below...

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