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Wallenda hangs by teeth from helicopter over Niagara Falls

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/15/2017 By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press
Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — Erendira Wallenda, the aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda, successfully hung by her teeth from a helicopter over Niagara Falls on Thursday, pulling off the stunt five years to the day her husband walked a tight rope over the falls.

Nik Wallenda watches from above as his wife, Erendira Wallenda, hangs by her teeth while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls.(AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Nik Wallenda watches from above as his wife, Erendira Wallenda, hangs by her teeth while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls.(AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

The 36-year-old mother of three was tethered to a hoop suspended from a helicopter 300 feet (91 meters) above the water.

Nik Wallenda watches from above as his wife, Erendira Wallenda, hangs by her teeth while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. Erendira Wallenda was tethered to a hoop suspended 300 feet (91 meters) above the water. After performing a few acrobatic maneuvers, she briefly hung twice by her teeth with the use of a tethered mouth guard in between hanging upside-down by her toes for a few seconds. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Nik Wallenda watches from above as his wife, Erendira Wallenda, hangs by her teeth while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. Erendira Wallenda was tethered to a hoop suspended 300 feet (91 meters) above the water. After performing a few acrobatic maneuvers, she briefly hung twice by her teeth with the use of a tethered mouth guard in between hanging upside-down by her toes for a few seconds. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

With the mist from the falls as a backdrop, Wallenda worked herself into a series of dramatic poses, waving her arms as she dangled by her knees and toes and doing handstands and splits. She hung twice by her teeth with the use of a mouth guard.

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

About 200 people watched on shore at Niagara Falls State Park, many with cellphones aloft to capture photos and video of Wallenda, who appeared as a graceful silhouette against the clouds.

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

"There are no words. It was beautiful," she said afterward.

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

The Wallendas said the stunt broke a height record Nik Wallenda set in 2011 when he hung by his teeth 250 feet (76 meters) above Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.

Aerialist Erendira Vasquez Wallenda shows the mouthpiece she used after dangling by her mouth from a helicopter over Niagara Falls on Thursday, June 15, 2017 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The wife of famed stuntman Nik Wallenda said she wasn't nervous because she's been performing since she was five. (Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press via AP) © The Associated Press Aerialist Erendira Vasquez Wallenda shows the mouthpiece she used after dangling by her mouth from a helicopter over Niagara Falls on Thursday, June 15, 2017 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The wife of famed stuntman Nik Wallenda said she wasn't nervous because she's been performing since she was five. (Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press via AP)

Erendira Wallenda said she was caught off guard by the windy conditions above the cataracts, something her husband had to deal with during his 2012 stunt.

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. Thursday's performance came on the fifth anniversary of her husband, Nik Wallenda's televised high-wire walk over Niagara Falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. Thursday's performance came on the fifth anniversary of her husband, Nik Wallenda's televised high-wire walk over Niagara Falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

"I respect this man so much more because it was way more windy than I thought it would be," she said.

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Helicopter pilot Paul Barth said Wallenda signaled to him to fly higher during the routine to get away from the wind.

Erendira Wallenda waves to the crowd while performing a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda waves to the crowd while performing a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

"She was trying to get up above the turbulence," said Barth of Palm Beach, Florida, who has worked before with the Wallendas. "It billows up as you can tell by the spray."

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. Thursday's performance came on the fifth anniversary of her husband, Nik Wallenda's televised high-wire walk over Niagara Falls. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. Thursday's performance came on the fifth anniversary of her husband, Nik Wallenda's televised high-wire walk over Niagara Falls. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

The aerialist spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls.

Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. Thursday's performance came on the fifth anniversary of her husband, Nik Wallenda's televised high-wire walk over Niagara Falls. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) © The Associated Press Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Thursday, June 15, 2017. The 36-year-old mother of three spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. Thursday's performance came on the fifth anniversary of her husband, Nik Wallenda's televised high-wire walk over Niagara Falls. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Afterward, she and her husband spoke of the attraction of the falls, which has long attracted daredevils.

Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

"There's something almost magical that draws you to it. It's kind of dangerous but it's beautiful in the same way," she said.

Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

County and city officials who helped finance the stunt hope people watching news coverage will feel the same pull. The city and Niagara County Legislature each committed $35,000 to the stunt with the goal of boosting tourism.

Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on a weekday, Erendira Wallenda's stunt drew nowhere near the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of her husband's 2012 prime-time high wire walk. Legislators and the Wallendas said the payoff would come later, with the spread of photos and video from the stunt.

Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) © The Associated Press Spectators watch as Erendira Wallenda performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers, including hanging by her teeth, while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Thursday, June 15, 2017. The aerialist wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda spent about eight minutes of the 10-minute stunt hovering over the falls. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

"It's generating the awareness, getting people here, people who wouldn't have come before," said Randy Bradt, the county legislature's majority leader. "I really believe the rate of return on our investment will be tenfold for us."

Trapeze-artist Erendira Wallenda smiles as she and her daredevil husband Nik Wallenda describe Erendira's plans to perform an acrobatic routine while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls, at a news conference Wed., June 14, 2017 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The stunt is planned for Thursday, June 15, the fifth anniversary of Nik Wallenda's televised 1,800-foot tightrope walk from the New York side of Niagara Falls into Canada. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson) © The Associated Press Trapeze-artist Erendira Wallenda smiles as she and her daredevil husband Nik Wallenda describe Erendira's plans to perform an acrobatic routine while suspended from a helicopter above Niagara Falls, at a news conference Wed., June 14, 2017 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The stunt is planned for Thursday, June 15, the fifth anniversary of Nik Wallenda's televised 1,800-foot tightrope walk from the New York side of Niagara Falls into Canada. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

The Wallendas have talked about opening a Wallenda-themed entertainment complex in Niagara Falls for several years, but there has been little, if any, public progress. The Wallendas are scheduled to go on a 2 ½-month tour with the Big Apple Circus in October, Nik Wallenda said.

Erendira Wallenda, who traces her circus roots back seven generations on one side and eight on the other, also performs on a 70-foot sway pole and high wire. She set a world record in 2016 by completing 40 revolutions in her hoop in 50 seconds beneath a helicopter above the Atlantic City shore.

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