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While there are many professional escape artists - entertainers that specialize in freeing themselves from shackles under stressful conditions - few take it to the level Wisconsin daredevil Anthony Martin does. He has escaped from under 2,000 pounds of sand, a steel cage submerged in ice-cold water and even some of the world's most secure prisons. However this latest stunt definitely ranks as his most dangerous one yet! What is even more incredible is that this is the second time he has been able to pull or should we say escape it off!
His most recent attempt that took place on Tuesday, August 6th, began from the city of Ottawa, Illinois. The stunt began with the 47-year-old laying inside a plywood box with his hands cuffed to a belt around his waist and his right arm chained to the inside of the box. The door of the casket was then locked with a combination door lock normally used by prisons and to add a further twist, the locksmith scrambled the numbers, which meant that nobody knew the code! And things were just getting started!
The casket with Anthony locked inside was rolled onto a plane which was flown up to an altitude of 14,500 feet and then, tossed out! The only thing that prevented Anthony from tumbling straight down before he even had a few seconds to set himself free, were two skydivers who stabilized the box somewhat by holding the handles on either side and a drogue parachute, similar to the kind used to slow down fighter jets. While this helped reduce the speed a little, the box was still tumbling down at a rapid pace of 130 mph!
The fans gathered near a farm in Serena, Illinois, about 15 miles north of Ottawa, watched with abated breath for what seemed like an eternity, to see if the daredevil would indeed be able to defy death for a second time. Anthony did not disappoint.
Within 40 seconds whilst still at an altitude of 6,500 feet, the escape artist leaped out and parachuted down gracefully before landing on the soft farm grass, grinning from ear to ear. He later said that while the whole experience had been exhilarating, the wild side-to-side movement of the casket had made him a little disoriented, adding to the already arduous task of pulling free from the various shackles.
As a young boy, Anthony had ambitions of becoming a magician. However, his father burst his bubble when he told him that magic was just an illusion. Not wishing to pursue a profession that involved tricks, the then six-year-old decided he would become an escape artist instead. He began his pursuit by learning the basics - First understanding how lock mechanisms worked and then, learning how to take them apart. By the time he turned ten he had already begun practicing escape stunts.
In 1988, at the age of 22, Anthony decided to add a new dimension to his feats - Escaping whilst tumbling down from the skies. Though he had mastered the escape skills, he needed to figure out the flying and hence decided to learn how to skydive. By his 17th skydive, he felt confident enough to perform the stunt. Twenty five years later, the daredevil was able to repeat the same stunt all over again. So what's next? Even Anthony admits it is a hard act to follow, but we have a sneaky feeling that this escape artist will think up of something even more nail-biting!