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7 incredible high wire walks

As New York decides whether to allow a tightrope walker attempt a stunt over Niagara Falls, TheJournal.ie looks back over some of the most incredible tightrope walks ever to be performed.

Frenchman Philippe Petit was arrested immediately after his successful tightrope crossing between the Twin Towers in New York - around 1,350 feet off the ground - on 7 August, 1974.
Frenchman Philippe Petit was arrested immediately after his successful tightrope crossing between the Twin Towers in New York - around 1,350 feet off the ground - on 7 August, 1974.
Image: AP Photo/Alan Welner

A BILL ALLOWING a tightrope walker to cross Niagara Falls is currently going through the state legislature in New York.

The famous gorge has been crossed on a tightrope before – but not for over 100 years. Jean Francois “the Great Blondin” Gravelot carried out the successful stunt most recently – in 1850. The feat is now illegal.

Nik Wallenda, of the Flying Wallenda family, has pledged to cover the safety and security costs of the stunt – if he is allowed to perform it. Wallenda’s attempt has been endorsed by Niagara’s tourism board, which says the stunt would be good for tourism, according to the Niagara Gazette.

Wallenda has also promised to release New York state from responsibility should anything go wrong with the tightrope walk. The bill has already been passed by the senate, but will come before the state assembly this week.

Gallery: Looking back over some of the world’s most incredible tightrope walk efforts >

7 incredible high wire walks
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  • Didier Pasquett

    Frenchman Didier Pasquett walks the London skyline 46 meters (150 feet) above the River Thames in September 1997. (Tom Hevezi/PA)
  • Jay Cochrane

    In August 2007, 63-year-old Jay Cochrane repeated his 2005 feat by walking 549 meters (1,800 feet) along a tightrope by the Skylon Towers at the Niagara Falls. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
  • Philippe Petit

    Philippe Petit crossing a line between the towers of the Laon Cathedral in Picardy, France, in September 1974. (AP Photo/PA)
  • Helen Skelton

    Helen Skelton said she was inspired by the documentary about Petit (Man on Wire) to carry out this walk on a tightrope between two of the chimneys at Battersea Power Station, London, on 28 February 2011. (Sean Dempsey/PA Wire)
  • Helen Skelton

    Helen Skelton said she was inspired by the documentary about Petit (Man on Wire) to carry out this walk on a tightrope between two of the chimneys at Battersea Power Station, London, on 28 February 2011. (Sean Dempsey/PA Wire)
  • Freddy Nock

    30 August 2009: Swiss tightrope walker Freddy Nock on the 995-meter-long (3,264 feet) cable of the cable railway on top of Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitz. (AP Photo/Diether Endlicher)
  • Nik Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda, the seventh generation of the Flying Wallendas circus family, wipes the sweat from his brow as he performs the same stunt which killed his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda in 1978. Nik and his mother Delilah completed the stunt, which involved walking across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 30 meters (100 feet) in the air in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 4 June 2011. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
  • Nik and Delilah Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda and his mother Delilah Wallenda undertaking their Puerto Rico stunt in memory of Karl Wallenda, who died performing the same stunt in 1978 aged 73. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
  • Ramon Kelvink Junior

    French tightrope walker Ramon Kelvink Jr crossed a high wire stretched from the Price Building to the Chateau Frontenac hotel as part of Quebec's summer fesetival in July 2009. The rope was suspended some 50 metres (164 feet). (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Clement Allard)

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