David Blaine's Ascension stunt sees illusionist soar above the Arizona desert holding just helium balloons
Daredevil David Blaine soared nearly 25,000 feet into the Arizona sky while hanging from a bunch of jumbo-sized helium balloons in his latest stunt.
"It's like magic, it feels like I'm floating in the air," Mr Blaine, 47, said on a radio to his team back on the ground after gently lifting off from a desert airstrip in Page, Arizona, connected to dozens of balloons in an event he called "Ascension".
YouTube said the stunt, which it livestreamed on Wednesday, set a new record as the most-watched YouTube Originals live event ever with more than 770,000 viewers.
The so-called "extreme performer" set off at around 7:30am local time and gradually dropped small weights to speed his ascent and strapped on an oxygen mask as he neared 24,900 feet, an altitude where most commercial airlines travel.
Mr Blaine released himself from the balloons and fell for some 30 seconds before deploying a parachute to slow his descent.
The stunt lasted roughly 30 minutes.
David Blaine doesn't need a plane, he just uses balloons
— Ali-A (@OMGitsAliA)
"Wow, that was awesome," Mr Blaine yelled into his radio as he stood back on land.
Mr Blaine said he trained for the event for two years and became a licensed pilot.
It was his first live broadcast stunt since 2012.
Mr Blaine has a history of performing high-profile and high-risk feats of endurance.
His stunts include locking himself in a fish bowl, trapping himself in a block of ice for two days in Times Square, and standing freely atop a thin, tall pillar for 35 hours in New York City.