Illusionist David Blaine launches balloon flight stunt


Illusionist and magician David Blaine floated more than 24,000 feet above the Arizona desert held up by a cluster of balloons in his latest daring stunt. 

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

The stunt, which was livestreamed on YouTube, saw Blaine float 24,000 feet in the air held up by 52 helium-filled balloons.

After reaching 24,000 feet, Blaine – who had a parachute attached to him – skydived back down.  

The stunt lasted about an hour.     

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

The illusionist, who had an oxygen mask throughout, was climbing at about 500 feet a minute throughout the stunt

The illusionist, who had an oxygen mask throughout, was climbing at about 500 feet a minute throughout the stunt

Shortly after taking off, Blaine slowly started dropping five pound weights to ascend even higher. The illusionist, who had an oxygen mask throughout, was climbing at about 500 feet a minute throughout. 

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

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 and spoke to him several times while he was in the air.  

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.  

He 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.      

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

Blaine unhooked himself from the balloons at more than 24,000 feet and skydived back towards the ground

Blaine unhooked himself from the balloons at more than 24,000 feet and skydived back towards the ground

He 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 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

After reaching 24,000 feet, Blaine - who had a parachute attached to him - skydived back down

After reaching 24,000 feet, Blaine – who had a parachute attached to him – skydived back down

‘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. 

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. 

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

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

Blaine's inspiration for the stunt came from the French film Le Ballon Rouge where a little boy goes floating into the sky holding onto a pack of balloons

Blaine’s inspiration for the stunt came from the French film Le Ballon Rouge where a little boy goes floating into the sky holding onto a pack of balloons

'Ascension' is Blaine's 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

‘Ascension’ is Blaine’s 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

Blaine pictured during a stunt in London where he spent 44 days suspended in a box overlooking the Thames River without food in 2003

Blaine pictured during a stunt in London where he spent 44 days suspended in a box overlooking the Thames River without food in 2003

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