Illusionist David Blaine launches balloon flight stunt

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Illusionist and magician David Blaine has launched his daring stunt that will see him float some 18,000 feet into the sky held up by nothing other than 52 helium-filled balloons. 

The 47-year-old’s ‘Ascension’ stunt kicked off in Page, Arizona on Wednesday morning. 

The stunt, which is being livestreamed on YouTube, will see Blaine float 18,000 feet – or 3.2 miles – in the air held up only by the cluster of balloons.

It is expected to last about an hour.  

Shortly after taking off, Blaine started dropping five pound weights to ascend higher. He was climbing at about 500 feet a minute. 

At about 8,000 feet, Blaine started strapping himself into a parachute. He is set to skydive back to the ground.  

Illusionist and magician David Blaine launched his ‘Ascension’ stunt in Page, Arizona on Wednesday when he floated 18,000 feet above the ground held up by 52 helium balloons

Shortly after taking off, Blaine started dropping five pound weights to ascend higher

Shortly after taking off, Blaine started dropping five pound weights to ascend higher

Just prior to getting underway, Blaine said the stunt felt ‘way crazier’ than anything he has ever previously done. 

‘This thing feels insane. Normally I feel like I have control… this I have no control over anything,’ he said. 

His nine-year-old daughter Dessa watched on from the ground.  

The stunt, which was initially scheduled to be held in his hometown of New York City, had to be postponed earlier this week due to unfavorable weather and wind conditions. 

Blaine has previously said he was inspired to duplicate the image from the 1956 French film Le Ballon Rouge where a little boy goes floating into the sky holding onto a pack of balloons.  

‘Ascension’ is his first live-broadcast stunt since 2012 when he spent 72 hours standing on a pillar in New York City while being hit with one million volts of electricity.  

The stunt, which is being livestreamed on YouTube, will see Blaine float 18,000 feet – or 3.2 miles – in the air held up only by the cluster of balloons

Shortly after taking off, Blaine started dropping five pound weights to ascend higher. He was climbing at about 500 feet a minute

Shortly after taking off, Blaine started dropping five pound weights to ascend higher. He was climbing at about 500 feet a minute

Just prior to getting underway, Blaine said the stunt felt 'way crazier' than anything he has ever previously done

Just prior to getting underway, Blaine said the stunt felt ‘way crazier’ than anything he has ever previously done

At about 8,000 feet, Blaine started strapping himself into a parachute

At about 8,000 feet, Blaine started strapping himself into a parachute

At about 8,000 feet, Blaine started strapping himself into a parachute

His nine-year-old daughter Dessa watched on from the ground and spoke to him at one point during the flight

His nine-year-old daughter Dessa watched on from the ground and spoke to him at one point during the flight

Illusionist and magician David Blaine has launched his daring stunt that will see him float some 18,000 feet into the sky held up by nothing other than 52 helium-filled balloons

Illusionist and magician David Blaine has launched his daring stunt that will see him float some 18,000 feet into the sky held up by nothing other than 52 helium-filled balloons

Blaine said he has spent the last two years preparing for his latest stunt. 

He says he obtained a pilot’s license, a commercial balloon pilot’s license and learned to skydive ahead of the stunt.   

He was fitted to a parachute and oxygen mask throughout the stunt. 

Blaine has gained a reputation for embarking on adrenaline-pumping stunts, including being buried in a plastic box under a three-ton water-filled tank.

In another stunt he spent seven days submerged in an eight-foot diameter water-filled sphere in front of New York City’s Lincoln Center. 

He also spent nearly 64 hours trapped in a huge block of ice in Times Square.

In 2003, he carried out a stunt in London where he lasted 44 days in a suspended box over the Thames River without food. 

The 47-year-old's 'Ascension' stunt kicked off in Page, Arizona on Wednesday morning

The 47-year-old’s ‘Ascension’ stunt kicked off in Page, Arizona on Wednesday morning

Blaine is pictured above being fitted with his safety gear. He will be fitted to a parachute and oxygen mask throughout the stunt

Blaine is pictured above being fitted with his safety gear. He will be fitted to a parachute and oxygen mask throughout the stunt

His nine-year-old daughter Dessa (pictured above before the stunt got underway) watched on from the ground as her father took flight

His nine-year-old daughter Dessa (pictured above before the stunt got underway) watched on from the ground as her father took flight

The stunt, which was initially scheduled to be held in his hometown of New York City, had to be postponed earlier this week due to unfavorable weather and wind conditions

The stunt, which was initially scheduled to be held in his hometown of New York City, had to be postponed earlier this week due to unfavorable weather and wind conditions

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