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Daredevil Plans Handstand on Top of Burj Dubai

Martin Croucher
 (KT Exclusive) / 20 April 2009

DUBAI - Eskil Ronningsbakken is often just a heartbeat away from death. As a balancing artist, he has performed death-defying handstands on the cliff edges of some of the world’s highest mountains.

But now he faces his biggest challenge yet - performing a one-handed handstand at the summit of the Burj Dubai. Eskil Ronningsbakken, from Norway, has applied for permission from master developer Emaar to perform the stunt when the tower opens in September.

In his first interview with Dubai media, the 29-year-old said that he wanted to perform the balancing act on the tips of the fingers of one hand.

“When you only have five fingers touching the building, you feel like you are flying,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Kenya.

“The Burj Dubai is a testament to human mastery over nature. It sends out the message that anything is possible,” he said. “I want to do the same thing by performing this act.”

A spokesman for Emaar declined to comment on whether or not they would allow Ronningsbakken to go ahead with his stunt.

In January the Burj Dubai reached the height of 2,684 ft, becoming the tallest man-made structure in history.

According to a forecaster at Dubai Met office, who declined to be named, wind pressure at the top of the building would be roughly around 25-30km per hour. “That’s not so strong whereby you couldn’t stand up,” the forecaster said. “It’s certainly a lot less than it is for other structures at that height.

“Whether or not he could do it or not would depend on what the wind is like for that day.”

Experts also warn that at the peak of the Burj Dubai, the building is likely to sway slightly in the wind.

Ronningsbakken has been climbing and perfecting his balancing act from the age of five, where he grew up in Norway’s fjordsw.

In one jaw-dropping stunt, he performs a handstand on top of an upturned chair, balanced on top of a pole, balanced on top of a rock wedged between two cliff faces.


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