Published on June 12th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
VIDEOS: Karl Wallenda’s Fatal Tightrope Walk in Puerto Rico
Nik Wallenda may be making news this week for the tightrope walk across Niagara Falls he’s planning for this Friday. But the Flying Wallendas — his legendary family — have made headlines in Puerto Rico ever since the family patriarch, Karl Wallenda, plunged to his death while walking the wire between two buildings at the Condado Plaza hotel in San Juan, back in 1978. They attracted more attention in 2011, when Nik and his mother did a thrilling two-person walk between the same two buildings at the same Puerto Rico hotel, which is located in the popular Puerto Rico beach neighborhood called Condado.
Born in Germany in 1908, Karl Wallenda began performing in the family show at age six. The Flying Wallendas were world famous by the time Karl arrived in San Juan at age 73 for a promotional walk between two hotel buildings in the upscale beachfront area of Condado. A strong gust of wind threw Karl off the wire and down onto Ashford Avenue; he died from his injuries.
But the Wallendas would return triumphantly to Puerto Rico to honor their patriarch’s name. In 2011, Nik Wallenda and his mother, Delilah Wallenda, staged a stunning feat right at the location of Karl’s death — at what is now the Conrad Condado Plaza hotel — as they crossed the same tight rope, at the same time, from different directions. Also in 2011, Rick Wallenda walked a tightrope at San Patricio Mall in honor of his grandfather.
In the VIDEOS above, you’ll be able to witness all three of these important moments in the Wallenda family life, all of which took place in Puerto Rico.