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Blaine runs out of puff
David Blaine, the American magician, has been pulled from an aquarium during a failed attempt to set a record by holding his breath under water.
Last Modified: 09 May 2006 03:41 GMT
Blaine fell two minutes short of the record
David Blaine, the American magician, has been pulled from an aquarium during a failed attempt to set a record by holding his breath under water.

Blaine, 33, was rescued by divers on Monday, missing the record eight minutes and 58 seconds by a whole two minutes, while trying to free himself from chains and handcuffs.

The record attempt ended a weeklong underwater stunt in New York and was broadcast live in the US by ABC television.

Blaine seemed to be in pain and bubbles were rising to the surface after he had held his breath for seven minutes and eight seconds.

Dr Murat Gunel, the head of Blaine's medical team and an associate professor of neurosurgery at Yale University, said the week under water had taken its toll on the magician, including liver damage, some loss of sensation and rashes all over his body which had turned white.

Gunel and other doctors had been monitoring Blaine's condition from an adjacent tent filled with medical equipment and machines.

'Best shot'

Crowds had gathered on Monday to watch Blaine submerged in a spherical tank in the plaza outside the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

On Sunday, Blaine, wearing a diver's helmet with a two-way communication system, told that AP he would "give it my best shot" to complete the feat despite peeling skin, pains in his joints and an earache.

He planned to put on chains and handcuffs, remove his oxygen tube and then escape while holding his breath longer than anyone else has.

People queued all day to see the
unusual spectacle


Kirk Krack, his trainer and diving specialist, said if there were any release of bubbles during the stunt, a sign that Blaine was losing consciousness, divers would  jump into the tank.

While one diver pinched Blaine's nose and closed his mouth to prevent him from swallowing water, another diver freed him from the chains and brought him to the surface.

Early struggle

As early as the second day of his challenge, Gunel said, there was evidence that Blaine was suffering liver failure; the medical team consulted specialists at Nasa before stabilising his condition.

Blaine's underwater environment was similar to the weightlessness experienced by astronauts, he said.

Gunel said Blaine agreed to allow researchers at Yale to examine him after the stunt to see what they could learn about how the body responded to an underwater environment.

Blaine's previous stunts in New York have included balancing on a small disc 30m up a pole, being buried for a week and staying inside a block of ice for 61 hours.

In 2003, he fasted for 44 days in an acrylic box suspended over the Thames.

Source:
Agencies
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