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Wallenda May Have to Wear Tether During Walk Over Falls | News

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Wallenda May Have to Wear Tether During Walk Over Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, NY-- Daredevil Nik Wallenda will live out his dream next month when he walks over Niagara Falls on a high wire, but he may have to wear a safety wire or tether to do so.

"I'm fightng with everything in me to make sure that doesn't happen and it's always been my dream to do it without, but we are dealing with those issues, for sure," Wallenda told Two On Your Side.

Wallenda will make the 1,800 ft. walk on a steel cable stretched over the Horseshoe Falls.

WEB EXTRAClick here to see a photo gallery of Wallenda practicing for the walk

He had planned to perform without the benefit of any safety devices, such as a net or a harness attaching him to the cable 200 feet above the plunge pool beneath the falls.

But in an interview with WGRZ-TV Wednesday, Wallenda confirmed there has been pressure put on him by some of the sponsors underwriting the event for him to wear a safety device which would keep him from falling into the Niagara Gorge should he falter.

"A lot of them have threatened to back out if I don't wear a line. So we're working on that diligently and I'm telling my managers I don't want to wear a line and we need to figure out a way around it," Wallenda said.

Without naming them, Wallenda said that certain sponsors have indicated they might be inclined to disassociate their names with the event unless they can be reasonably assured that their names won't be forever associated with a tragedy should one occur.

"I can understand, from their aspect, that a huge company might have to consider that if their name would be associated with an event where a guy loses his life, then it might hurt their reputation," said Wallenda.

Wallenda says he is continuing to speak with those sponsors to reassure them, but also acknowledged that their continued support is vital to the stunt occurring.

"We're over one million dollars into this, and that sponsorship money is what helps pay for that. This event wouldn't happen without those sponsors. Therefore they do have a lot of control, and we're doing our best to ease their fears and calm their fears." 

Wallenda says he has only worn a safety tether once in his life, which was when he was performing in an act with his grandfather and was only five years old.

"But never in my life, on a wire, have I worn a mechanic or a line or anything," Wallenda said.

Pressed as to whether he would wear a safety device if sponsors were prepared to pull out if he refuses, Wallenda indicated he likely would, while reiterating that it would not be his choice.

"Let me put it this way. This is my dream and I've had two laws changed that are over 100 years old (to allow for the stunt). If they force me to wear a mechanic or a safety line I'm not going to give up my dream. Again, I'm adamantly against it, I'm doing everything in my power to make sure I do not wear one, but we'll just have to see what it comes down to in the end."


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