David Blaine flies over the Arizona desert using helium balloons

David Blaine flies over the Arizona desert using helium balloons

The magician David Blaine flew over the city of Page, Arizona, on Wednesday morning, using helium balloons, as captured in a live broadcast.

The feat is a partnership between the magician and YouTube Originals and was titled “Ascension”, which Blaine said was inspired by the desire to do something beautiful for his 9-year-old daughter Dessa.

The helium-filled latex balloons used on Wednesday were not the party shop type. They have been manipulated and can be emptied or popped remotely as needed. A “balloon” made of fiberglass contained a parachute and oxygen. The device also allowed the scene to be filmed.

At an altitude of almost 25,000 feet, Blaine ejected and parachuted to the ground.

The flow started at 9 am EDT, but Blaine didn’t leave the ground until about two hours later. Part of the broadcast included excerpts from Blaine’s training – learning to fly on balloons, parachuting and dealing with lower temperatures.

Skydiving expert Luke Aikins outlined the risks: cold temperatures, hypoxia (defined by the Cleveland Clinic as “low oxygen levels in tissues”), attaching a parachute between the balloons and landing. Blaine said he had not done the feat in its entirety before.

“Ascension” was originally scheduled for Monday and for a totally different location. The endurance artist was to take off from New Jersey and float through New York City.