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An American daredevil has walked on a tightrope above the crater of an active volcano

Erica Davies, March 8, 2020 1:28PM The Sun

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Nik Wallenda watching his wife Erendira performing before his high-wire walk. Picture: Jeff Daly / ABC/ AFP media_cameraNik Wallenda watching his wife Erendira performing before his high-wire walk. Picture: Jeff Daly / ABC/ AFP

humanities

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American daredevil* Nik Wallenda has successfully walked a tightrope thousands of metres in the air above the crater of an active volcano.

The high-wire artist crossed above the boiling lake of lava 635m above the active Masaya volcano in Nicaragua in Central America last week becoming the first person to ever do so.

He completed the 550m walk across “The Mouth of Hell” in just 30 minutes, braving strong winds as the volcano spewed toxic* gas.

The 41-year-old stuntman wore a safety harness, goggles, and a respirator* to protect himself from the poisonous fumes, but he ended up ditching his eyewear halfway through the stunt.

“There’s no better feeling than wrapping your arms around your family after a moment like that!” tweeted the overjoyed stuntman after completing his high-flying fire walk which was shown live on US television.

media_cameraUS acrobat Nik Wallenda as he crosses the tightrope over the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua. Picture: Picture: Jeff Daly / ABC /AFP

Wallenda’s wife Erendira opened up the show with an amazing stunt of her own.

She gracefully performed several pirouettes* on a hoop while suspended above the searing-hot lava.

Wallenda then performed his death-defying* walk. However, not everyone was impressed with Wallenda being criticised on social media for wearing the safety gear.

Responding to critics*, Wallenda told Sarasota’s Herald Tribune that the ABC TV station insisted he wear the protective gear.

media_cameraNik Wallenda was attached to a safety harness and wore protective goggles for the walk. Picture: Jeff Daly / ABC /AFP

Wallenda, who is the seventh generation of the legendary Great Wallendas family of stunt performers, is famous for his adventurous stunts. He successfully wire-walked across Niagara Falls and crossed between two Chicago buildings while blindfolded*.

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda crosses active volcano

Not all of his family members have been as lucky. Karl Wallenda, Nik’s great-grandfather, notably fell to his death in 1978 while tightrope-walking between two towers without safety equipment in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Masaya is Nicaragua’s first and largest national park and it’s one of 78 protected areas in the Central American country.

Spanish settlers* named the crater “The Mouth of Hell” during the 16th century.

Although there hasn’t been much activity in recent years, the volcano last erupted in 2008.

GLOSSARY

  • daredevil: adventure seeker who performs dangerous stunts
  • toxic: poisonous
  • respirator: a face mask to stop someone breathing in dust, smoke, or poisons
  • pirouettes: spins
  • death-defying: very dangerous
  • critics: someone who argues against something
  • blindfolded: having the eyes covered
  • settlers: people who move to live in a new country or area

EXTRA READING

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Volcano camera catches lava flow

QUICK QUIZ

  1. How many metres was the tightrope above the crater?
  2. In which country is the volcano located?
  3. What is the name of the famous acrobatic family?
  4. Which waterfall did Nik walk across on a high-wire?
  5. What name was given to the active volcano’s crater?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Well, that’s just …
What is your reaction to Nik Wallenda’s feat? Are you impressed or do you think he is crazy to have performed the stunt? Think about all the different reactions people might have upon reading this article and make a list of as many words as you can to finish this sentence: “Well, that’s just …”

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Come up with five possible headlines that would be suitable for this news article. You should create one 1-word headline; one 2-word headline; one 3-word headline; one 4-word headline and one 5-word headline.

Make them exciting – they should grab a reader’s attention and entice them to read the whole article.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

VCOP ACTIVITY
1. Punctuation Thief
Pick a paragraph from the article, or about 3 sentences together if that’s easier, and rewrite it without the punctuation. At the bottom of the page write a list of all the punctuation you stole and in the order you stole it. For example; C ,. C .

Then swap your book with another person and see if they can work out where the punctuation needs to go back to.


HAVE YOUR SAY: Was it right or wrong for Nik Wallenda to wear safety gear?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will show until approved by editors.

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