Nik Wallenda says he ‘freaked’ when pole slipped

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Aerialist Lijana Wallenda walks on a high wire above Times Square, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason Szenes)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nik Wallenda says he “freaked” out when his balancing pole slipped during a high-wire walk with his sister above New York’s Times Square.

Nik and Lijana Wallenda spoke Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” just hours after their harrowing feat.

Nik Wallenda said the scare occurred as his sister knelt so he could step over her while they crossed paths 25 stories above the pavement.

“My pole started to slide down,” he said, adding that he briefly lost his grip. “It freaked me out for a second” — though his voice and facial expression remained outwardly calm during riveting close-ups shown on television.

Lijana Wallenda was performing with him for the first time since she had a near-fatal fall in 2017.

She conceded that she felt “a little shaky in the legs” for the first 20 feet.

But “it becomes home,” she said. “This is what I’ve done my whole life. … It’s peaceful.”

Lijana Wallenda said she could have quit wire walking after her traumatic fall but “I wouldn’t let that fear consume me.”

She is “living proof” that anybody can step out of their comfort zone and overcome their own fears, her brother said.

After conquering Times Square, Nik Wallenda says he’s got his eye on an “active volcano.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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