NIAGARA FALLS, NY - Nik Wallenda, a member of the famed "Flying Wallendas" family of aerialists, stepped onto a 2-inch-wide (5-cm) cable on Friday night to begin his historic tightrope walk through the mist over Niagara Falls Gorge.

Wallenda is attempting to walk from the US side of the falls to the Canadian side, a journey of 1,800 feet (550 meters) above treacherous waters and rocks. The walk is 150 feet (46 meters) above the falls, he said.

More than a century ago, an aerialist known as the Great Blondin walked a high wire strung farther down the gorge, but a trek over the brink of the falls has never been attempted.

As he began the walk, attention focused on whether the 33-year-old American aerialist would keep his safety harness on as required for the daring attempt.

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