Viewers call out Nik Wallenda's live volcano high-wire crossing for safety precautions

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

High-wire artist Nik Wallenda crossed Nicauragua's active Masaya Volcano during the ABC special Volcano Live! Wednesday night. And he had to worry about a lot more than just keeping his balance.

This volcano is one of only eight volcanoes in the world to have a lava lake, filled with 2,000-degree molten rock. The volcano also emits a toxic fog that is made up of hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen sulfide, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide gasses, which required that the high-wire cable be coated in special material to keep from corroding.

Wallenda wore a gas mask and sealed goggles to keep the toxic fumes from burning and incapacitating him. Despite the safety precautions, he said that the gasses managed to burn his eyes.

At a height of 1,800 feet, this was Wallenda's highest walk. He later admitted it was also his windiest. There was one point during the walk in which viewers could really see Wallenda battling the wind.

Despite the toxic gasses, 2,000-degree lava, gusting winds, and the fact that this was his longest and highest crossing of his career, many viewers complained on Twitter about Nik wearing a safety harness, causing quite a feud to emerge between haters and fans.

It should be pointed out that Wallenda normally uses a safety harness, including his walks across Niagara Falls and Times Square. In fact, the only major walk he has done in the last eight years without a safety harness was the Grand Canyon in 2013.

The entire crossing took Wallenda a little over 31 minutes. He spent much of that time praying, as well as pitching his new book Facing Fear. When he did finally finish the walk, he was greeted by hugs, cheers, and place in the history books.

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