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Top 10 Deadliest Stunts Ever Performed

Updated on March 29, 2016
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10. Human Speed Bump

Tom Owen is a Body builder from Birmingham, Alabama that has nicknamed himself the "Human Speed Bump." Owen has been featured in Stan Lee's Superhumans television program and holds the Guinness World Record for most vehicles to run over the stomach. For the record, Owen allowed nine 3,000 to 4,000-kilogram or 6,500 to 9,000-pound trucks to pass over him in Milan, Italy on April 26th 2009. Doctors believe that this unnatural feat of strength lies within Owen's huge abdomen muscles which act as a pillow. The rest of his body is not nearly as strong though, having broken his ribs and his back by completing the famous truck Passover. Owen has also suffered injuries from other Passovers due to operator error, and now uses a specially built ramp to help guide the vehicle over his stomach.

9. Jumping the Grand Canyon

Most have heard of Evel Knievel, but not many know he had a dream to jump across the Grand Canyon on his motorcycle. Unfortunately, he would never accomplish this goal, but his son Robbie Knievel would. Robbie performed the stunt on May 20th, 1999, soaring 228 feet or 69 meters across a narrow gap of the canyon that belonged to the Hualapai Nation, an American Indian tribe. Breaking his own Guinness World Record for the longest distance jump at 223 feet or 68 meters, Robbie risked plunging 2,500 feet or 762 meters to his death if he failed. Robbie used a 500 cc motorcycle, reaching 80 miles or 129 kilometers per hour on the take-off ramp while fireworks erupted in the background. Although Robbie cleared the jump, he lost control of the bike on his landing, breaking his leg in the crash.

8. English Channel Crossing

Nicknamed the Jet Man, Yves Rossy is a Swiss military trained pilot and aviation enthusiast. He has invented a series of experimental individual jet packs, which he sometimes tests and presents in high profile events staged around the world. In 2008, Rossy made a flight over the Alps Mountain Range, reaching speeds of 189 miles or 302 kilometers per hour. In 2009, he attempted to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, hoping to be the first to traverse between two continents with a jet pack, but strong winds and cloud banks forced him to ditch into the sea 3 miles or 5 kilometers from the Spanish Coast. On September 26th, 2008, Rossy leap from a helicopter at an altitude of 8,200 feet or 2,500 meters over Calais, France where he began to cross the English Channel at speeds of over 125 miles or 200 kilometers per hour. The 22-mile or 35-kilometer flight to England took 13 minutes and could've been disastrous as the channel is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, and Rossy's jet wing wasn't designed for landing in water.

7. Red Bull Space Jump

Felix Baumgartner climbed to 128,100 feet or 39,045 meters in a helium filled balloon on October 14th, 2012 for a mission that took Baumgartner and his team five years to train and prepare for, with the purpose of improving our scientific understanding of how the body copes with the extreme conditions near space. Jumping from the stratosphere, Baumgartner reached an estimated 833.9 miles or 1,342.8 kilometers per hour, making him the first man to break the speed of sound in free fall. He also broke two other records that day, one for the highest free fall and one for the highest manned balloon flight. The entire trip back to Earth lasted 9 minutes and 9 seconds, with 4 minutes and 22 seconds of that time being in free fall.

6. Tight Rope Walking Between Hot Air Balloons

Aisikaier Wubulikasimu was the cause of nerve wracking scenes in Yunnan Province, China when the tightrope walker traveled between two hot air balloons suspended 108 feet or 33 meters above Naigu Stone Forest on July 31st, 2013. Wubulikasimu, aged 40 years at the time, tip toed across a steel beam only 5 centimeters or 2 inches wide and 59 feet or 18 meters long, sitting on the beam halfway across to regain his balance, in 38.35 seconds. This time set a new Guinness World Record for the quickest time crossing a high wire between two balloons, but isn't Wubulikasimu's first record breaking stunt. Wubulikasimu's other record breaking stunts include walking the fastest 328 feet or 100 meters on a tightrope on June 6th, 2008, with a time of 38.86 seconds, and the steepest gradient walked on a tightrope with an angle of 36.24 degrees on September 3rd, 2014.

5. Rotterdam Building Slide

Jackie Chan isn't a stranger to stunt work, having performed his own since the start of his career in entertainment. Over the course of his career, Jackie Chan had performed several dangerous stunts, some resulting in serious injury. Injuries included his supercilliary bone, or "eyebrow bone" being damaged during the film Drunken Master in 1978, cervical spine damage when he fell 82 feet or 25 meters from a clock tower for Project A in 1983, and a skull fracture, resulting in his brain bleeding after he had fallen from a tree filming The Armour of God, in 1986. Arguably, his most dangerous stunt involved jumping off the twenty-one story Willemswerf office building in Rotterdam, sliding down a 45 degree incline for the film, Who Am I? Jackie Chan required two weeks to muster the nerve to perform this stunt; all with good reason too, as one slip could have sent him plummeting to his death.

4. Climbing the Burj Khalifa

Born on August 7th, 1962, Alain Robert is a French rock and urban climber from Burgandy, France, and dubbed "The French Spider-Man" for his famous free solo climbing and scaling of skyscrapers around the world, using no climbing equipment except a small bag of chalk and a pair of climbing shoes. Some of the skyscrapers and buildings he has triumphed over are the Federation Tower in Moscow, the New York Times Building in New York City, Cheung Kong Centre in Hong Kong, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The authorities normally refuse to give him permits and permissions for such dangerous exploits, causing Robert to be arrested on several occasions, but on March 28th, 2011, with permission, Robert climbed the 2,722 feet or 830 meter Burj Khalifa tower, the tallest artificial structure in the world.

3. The Wing Walker

In October 1917, Ormer Locklear joined the U.S. Army Air Service, training at Camp Dick and Barron Field to become a flying instructor. Pilot Cadet Locklear started climbing out onto his Jenny biplane's lower wing during mid flight to resolve certain problems that cropped up while flying, and while being a court martial-able offense, his instructors encouraged him to perform more "stunts" because it boosted his colleague's morale. As other pilots watched Locklear's performances, several started developing their own stunts and as a result, wing walking took off. Over the years, several wing walker's lost their lives while performing stunts in flight, including Locklear himself in 1920 when performing a stunt for a Hollywood film.

2. Niagra Falls Tightrope Walk

Nik Wallenda, born January 24th, 1979, is a seventh generation member of The Flying Wallendas family and no stranger to dangerous stunts performed on the high wire, having traversed a Grand Canyon area gorge on June 23rd, 2013 and a 135-feet or 41-meter crossing between the Condado Plaza Hotel's two towers on June 4th, 2011 in San Juan. Nik Wallenda holds nine Guinness World Records for various acrobatic feats, including the longest and highest bicycle ride on a high wire. Among the numerous stunts performed by Nik includes his tense 25-minute walk on a tight rope across the Horseshoe Falls on June 15th, 2012.

1. Balancing On The Edge

Eskil Rønningsbakken, born June 24th, 1979, is an extreme artist from Vallset in Stange, Norway who travels the world performing balancing acts from the tops of lethal drops, such as canyons, cliffs, and structures. His achievements include tightrope walking between two hot air balloons while in flight, doing a handstand on a pile of chairs perfectly balanced on a rock wedged into a crevice between two cliffs at 3,500 feet or 1,065 meters, and traveling upside down on a bicycle at 3,281 feet or 1,000 meters above an icy Norwegian fjord across a tightrope. Eskil practices yoga, meditation, breathing techniques to stay focused and prepares extensively for each act. His goals include performing a one handed handstand at the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, but experts are concerned that wind speed will affect his ability to perform safely, as the building sways slightly in high winds.

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