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High-Wire Performer Nik Wallenda Credits God After Terrible Accident

02-09-2017
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Nik Wallenda
Nik Wallenda

World famous high-wire performer Nik Wallenda is crediting God for saving his team members after a terrible accident. 

Five members of the famed acrobat troupe known as the Flying Wallendas were hospitalized after they fell 30 feet from a tightrope Thursday morning. 

Wallenda was leading the eight-person team for the pyramid stunt when the performers lost their balance and plummeted to the ground below. 

"If you don't believe in God you better start now because it's a miracle. One of the guys was up over 40 feet high on top of that pyramid and he'll walk out of that hospital on his own today with three broken toes, and that's a miracle," Wallenda told reporters.

He said there are some broken bones, but he's "been assured that everybody will fully recover."

Wallenda was a part of the team of six men and two women. He said he was among three of the people who were able to catch the wire and not fall. 

"We had a guy today fall 28 feet – he was on the lower level – and he literally got up and walked out of the tent," Wallenda said. 

Four members of the team are in critical condition and another is suffering from a traumatic brain injury. 

The group was attempting to complete a new world record during a practice for Circus Sarasota in Sarasota, Florida. 

Click play to watch CBN's interview with high-wire performer Nik Wallenda. 

"Nik was at the rear of the pyramid, and he did not fall off the wire," said Pedro Reis of the Circus Arts Conservatory. "He was the anchor at the back of the pyramid."

"There were angels surrounding us," Wallenda said of the team.

The Wallendas have been performing professionally for the past 200 years. Nik's great grandfather, Carl Wallenda, introduced high-wire performing to the family in the early 1900s.

Since then, performing the seven-person pyramid on a nickel sized cable, 1,000 feet in the air, has become a family trade. 

"There is no question in my mind that God has laid these desires in my heart to carry on this family industry," Nik Wallenda told CBN in 2014. 

Wallenda has gone on to set eight world records and his sister has been a part of his team. She did fall in Thursday's accident. 

"They were approximately, I would say, 20 feet, 25 feet off the ground," Reis told reporters. "This was going to be one of the highest eight-person pyramids ever done."

Nik told CBN that he doesn't consider his feats death defying. 

"I don't see what I do as being more dangerous than a police officer. What I do is extremely calculated. I don't think God keeps me, holds me on the wire as I'm walking across, but God has given me a unique talent and it's up to me whether I train properly for that," he explained.  

Reis said the accident had "nothing to do with rigging," adding that the team performed Tuesday's stunt "flawlessly."

Three performers are being treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Dr. Alan Brockhurst said all the members are expected to survive. 

"They're extremely lucky, given the height of the fall that they survived," Brockhurst said.

"Obviously it's a shock to everybody," Reis said. "Nik is feeling a lot of pain right now."

"We will go to Plan B, obviously, and come up with a finish," he added. "But like I said, the circus is resilient. The circus people are resilient. And the show must go on."

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