Watch: Magician David Blaine soars above Arizona in breathtaking balloon stunt [video]

Acclaimed magician David Blaine made history on Wednesday 2 September by doing what so many of us can only dream of doing: Fly. By holding on to only 52 helium balloons, the illusionist soared over the Arizona desert.

Blaine’s latest ambitious stunt is called Ascension. While preparing for the big day, Blaine said on social media that he was hoping to “push beyond” anything he had ever done before.

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Dessa Blaine and David Blaine before the stunt Ascension on 2 September 2020 in Page, Arizona. Photo: AFP/Getty Images for YouTube Originals/David Becker

“Every single stunt that I’ve ever done is about endurance and pushing past what I thought would be possible. I can’t imagine that many people would dream of doing it.”

David Blaine’s ‘Ascension’ stunt

The main event took place on Wednesday 2 September 2020, with the preparation for liftoff taking approximately one hour. The event was then live-streamed on YouTube; the video can be viewed below.

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David Blaine lifting off during his Ascension stunt in Arizona Photo: AFP/Getty Images for YouTube Originals/David Becker

Blaine, 47, wanted to reach an altitude of 5.5 kilometres but broke his own goal by eventually reaching almost 7.6 kilometres before skydiving and parachuting back to the ground. Upon landing, he said:

“Wow! That was awesome!”

Watch: David Blaine’s most ambitious feat

And it’s no small feat too, considering that Blaine was strapped to a harness and only holding 52 helium-filled balloons, a scene that could have been pulled straight from the animated film, Up.

Flight Radar 24 announced time that “David Blaine is clear of the balloons and on his way back to the ground; his team will release ballast and vent helium to bring the balloon bunch back down for recovery.”

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David Blaine soaring through above Arizona during his Ascension stunt Photo: AFP/Getty Images for YouTube Originals/David Becker

If that wasn’t record-worthy already, Blaine also didn’t even put his parachute on until the very last minute when he was approximately halfway through his death-defying ascent.

When he reached an altitude of seven kilometres, Blaine pulled the cord and dove to the ground in an impressive skydive before “literally hitting the ground running to a lot of cheering”.

Watch: David Blaine’s ‘Ascension’

The illusionist was supported by a team throughout the stunt, from the ground and from a nearby helicopter which kept in contact with him throughout the process.

Blaine initially planned the stunt for New York City but Ascension was moved to the Arizona desert due to the complexity of the project. Blaine was seen practising for the stunt in Fresno, California in August.

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