Illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine just pulled off his first big stunt in nearly a decade. It’s a big way for him to get back into the spotlight and, it should be said, out from under the multiple sexual misconduct allegations that have persisted for years.
This morning, Blaine found himself in the Arizona desert and not, as originally planned, New York City. He strapped himself to 52 helium-filled balloons and took to the skies, Up-style, for a ride that would take him nearly five miles into the air.
Ascension, as the stunt is known, was streamed live on YouTube. Halway up he strapped on a parachute and at the apex of the flight, 24,900 feet, Blaine took a few hits from an oxygen tank and cut himself free. He fell down to 7,000 feet, where he opened his chute and coasted down to a sandy ravine.
From takeoff to landing, the stunt lasted just under an hour.
In a short video promoting the stunt, Blaine said that his goal in planning Ascension was to find something that his nine-year-old daughter Dessa would like, something that would “inspire her, not scare her.” Why she wouldn’t be scared when her dad is floating nearly 25,000 feet in the air before parachuting down is beyond us, but she did seem genuinely excited when he landed.
Dessa was the first person to say congratulations over the radio after touchdown. “You did it!” she exclaimed.
“This is all for you!” Blaine replied, still out of breath.
After a short chopper ride back to home base, the two reunited on the helipad as the video ends.