David Blaine will again risk his life in an attempt to hold his breath underwater longer than any human being (the current record is eight minutes, 58 seconds). He will undertake this latest challenge after living in a specially built human aquarium - an eight-foot acrylic sphere - for seven days and nights, in full public view in front of New York's Lincoln Center. Blaine’s attempt to break the world record will provide the finale to his upcoming two-hour special, "David Blaine: Drowned Alive," which will air on Monday, May 8 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
New Illusions According to Blaine’s website and ABC.com, the special will feature some new illusions and show Blaine performing street magic in a variety of venues that include a casino in Las Vegas, Angola State Prison in Angola, Louisiana and a New York art gallery.
Blaine, 33, trained with the U.S. Navy Seals and with an elite free-diving team led by Kirk Krack, and multiple free-dive world record holders Martin Stepanek and Mandy-Rae Cruickshank. Free-diving or breath-hold diving is a competitive water sport that relies on no breathing apparatus. The show will also feature segments that depict Blaine training and preparing for his stunt. If Blaine can break the world record, he would easily surpass Houdini, who held his breath for three minutes.
Life in a Bubble
The “aquarium” is equipped with a special life support system that feeds liquid nitrogen through a tube. The water will be maintained at a temperature close to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Potential problems for Blaine include hypothermia, blacking out, skin problems with his hands and feet and nerve damage. To be successful, he will need to acclimatize himself in the sphere, regulate his breathing, sleep at regular intervals and maintain hydration levels.
Literally becoming the boy in the bubble, Blaine is touting this challenge as his most interactive as spectators can touch the aquarium, take photos with him and communicate with him underwater from the time he enters the sphere until he is leaves it live during his special. Furthermore, the clear nature of the sphere has been designed to address doubters who have questioned whether Blaine has used body doubles, mirrors or other trickery to complete past challenges.
Blaine's last challenge, in 2003, was to complete a 44-day fast in an acrylic box suspended over the Thames River in London. Past specials featured Blaine’s large-scale stunts. In 2002, on "David Blaine: Vertigo," he balanced on a small platform, atop a 90-foot pillar in Manhattan's Bryant Park for 35 hours. In 2000, Blaine's "Frozen in Time" challenge had him stand in a block of ice for over 61 hours in New York’s Times Square. In April 1999, he performed his seven-day "Buried Alive" stunt. Blaine’s first special, "David Blaine: Street Magic," aired in May 1997.