Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 21:24 UK

Blaine sets breathtaking record

David Blaine
Blaine says his stunts are about pushing the limits of the human body

Magician David Blaine has set a world record by holding his breath for 17 minutes and four seconds on Oprah Winfrey's US TV show in Chicago.

The star was pulled from a water-filled sphere, and then said he had begun to doubt if he would achieve his goal as he considered his heart rate too high.

The previous record, which was 32 seconds shorter, was set in February.

Blaine, once buried for a week in a coffin, inhaled pure oxygen beforehand to flush carbon dioxide from his blood.

Setting the record was "a lifelong dream", he told Winfrey, which he said had been achieved by being in a meditative state throughout.

"I feel great", he said, as he was pulled out of the water.

"I actually started to doubt I was going to make it because I'd never done it with such a high heart rate," he added.

Winfrey asked him what he was thinking about during his time in the water, to which he replied: "You."

Beforehand Blaine said he was more excited than nervous about the task ahead.


David Blaine emerges from an acrylic water-filled sphere in New York, 2006
Blaine failed in an earlier breath-holding record attempt in New York

The 35-year-old had been wearing a silver wetsuit when he went into the sphere, which was filled with about 8,200 litres (1,800 gallons) of water.

Blaine said he had been hoping to make it to 23 minutes, but that he was aware that his heart started beating irregularly towards the end of the stunt.

"There's no enhancement, no cheating," he told Winfrey, adding that his stunts are not about magic but about pushing the limits of the human body.

Two years ago he failed in an attempt to break the record for breath-holding under water, while simultaneously escaping from heavy chains.

He had started to struggle two minutes before his nine-minute goal, at the end of a seven-day stint under water in New York.

Blaine has also balanced on top of a 100ft (30m) pole, was encased in ice for two-and-a-half days, and fasted for 44 days in a box.

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