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Tightrope walker given green light for Niagara Falls crossing

Nik Wallenda plans to walk the 550-metre crossing over the famous gorge in around 40 minutes.

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda poses near the Niagara Falls in August 2011.
Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda poses near the Niagara Falls in August 2011.
Image: AP Photo/David Duprey/PA Images

A DAREDEVIL tightrope walker has been given the go-ahead for a daring stunt: crossing the Niagara Falls from the US into Canada.

The 550-metre highwire walk is due to take place this summer after the Niagara Parks Commission, which had previously refused to even consider Wallenda’s proposal, approved his plan.

Members of the commission voted unanimously on Wednesday in support of the walk. The group’s chairperson Janice Thomson said that the approval was partly made “in recognition of the role that stunting has played in the history and promotion of Niagara Falls.”

“We have made it clear that this is a very unique one-time situation,” she added. “It’s not an every day activity and will not be allowed to become an every day activity.”

One of the conditions for the approval was that the commission would only consider such stunts once every 20 years.

The Edmonton Journal reports that New York state approved his plans back in September, with Governor Andre Cuomo signing the bill permitting it to go ahead.

According to the AP, Wallenda – who is a member of the famous Flying Wallendas family – plans to run a 5cm wire across the 50-metre gorge with a dip in the middle, meaning he faces a downhill walk for the first half and an uphill walk to the end of the line.

He expects the walk will take about 40 minutes.

Discovery television plans to broadcast the event live, and Wallenda has said he will cover the safety and security costs of the event. Niagara’s tourism board gave its support to the project last summer, saying it would be a great boost for tourism to the already-famous Falls.

- Additional reporting by the AP

In pictures: 7 incredible high wire walks >

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