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US daredevil begins Grand Canyon tightrope walk

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

US daredevil Nik Wallenda stepped out over a Grand Canyon tributary gorge Sunday, aiming to become the first person to walk a tightrope across the world-renowned landmark.

The 34-year-old, who was the first person to walk across the Niagara Falls last year, was wearing no safety harness for the stunt taking him 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River in eastern Arizona.

"That's a view there buddy. Praise God, this is awesome," he said, as he stepped out into the void. "Thank you Jesus for this beautiful view," he added.

"Praise you Jesus, how I love you," he said repeatedly, adding that there was "a lot of wind."

"Winds are way worse than I expected," he said about six minutes into the walk, in comments broadcast live by the Discovery Channel in 219 countries around the world.

Wallenda has been planning the walk for about four years, homing in on a remote location at the eastern end of the mighty geological chasm, on land operated by Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.

He began final training in Florida weeks ago, boosting stamina by walking repeatedly along a 1,000-foot long rope and using wind machines to simulate gusts of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) an hour.

mt/jk

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130623/us-daredevil-begins-grand-canyon-tightrope-walk