Risks of wire-walking across Niagara Falls: mist, falcon attacks, weird newspaper stories

Risks of wire-walking across Niagara Falls: mist, falcon attacks, weird newspaper stories

(Image: Bob Caple)

Stunt artist Nik Wallenda’s fast-approaching attempt to walk a steel cable strung across Niagara Falls has given rise to any number of entertaining—and entertainingly ridiculous—newspaper stories. Our faves this week:

• Wallenda’s stunt not so death-defying after all
Wallenda did say he’s not thrilled at sponsor ABC Television’insistence he wear a harness, but his disappointment is nothing compared to that of the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington. Harnessing a lot of ire for a column about a tightrope walker, Warmington rages against the “watered-down” stunt and blames “nanny-state Ontario” for the added precautions. Warmington even asks that the event be canceled, pointing out “that he could fall into the falls is the whole point of doing it in the first place.”

• High-wire walking is tiring
Sounding maternal in their concern, the Niagara Gazette writes Wallenda is “physically and mentally drained” after 11 days of practice that had him up on the cable twice a day (and doused by a firehose to simulate the falls’ spray). The Gazette also informs readers that Wallenda feels confident about the challenge, but wants some R&R time with his family before the big walk.

• Ohmygod, birds
Balance and grit won’t matter if Wallenda gets attacked by a bunch of falcons. Spokespeople for the Canadian Peregrine Foundation told the Toronto Star that there’s “a good possibility” that the falcons nesting near the gorge may swoop in and attack him at speeds of 360 kilometres an hour. Sounds potentially dangerous—but not bad enough to prevent the Star reporter from making a joke about Flying Wallendas versus flying falcons.

• Wallenda’s watered-down Niagara stunt [Toronto Sun]
• Wallenda makes final practice walk, is ready for a break [Niagara Gazette]
• Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda may face falcon attack on Niagara Falls crossing [Toronto Star]