Magician Breaks World Record for Holding One's Breath

CHICAGO (AP) — Magician David Blaine set a new world record Wednesday for breath-holding: 17 minutes and 4 seconds.

The feat was broadcast live during “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and the studio audience cheered as divers pulled Blaine from a water-filled sphere.

He looked relaxed afterward and said the record was “a lifelong dream.”

The previous record was 16 minutes and 32 seconds, set Feb. 10 by Switzerland's Peter Colat, according to Guinness World Records.

Before he entered the sphere, Blaine inhaled pure oxygen through a mask to saturate his blood with oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide. Guinness says up to 30 minutes of so-called “oxygen hyperventilation” is allowed under their guidelines.

Blaine took on a Zen-like appearance in the water tank as the minutes ticked, but Winfrey was anything but calm.

She fidgeted in her chair, pursed her lips, placed her head in her hands, and kept seeking reassurance from the doctor at her side about the 35-year-old magician's persistently high heart rate.

“I'll be glad when it's over. I don't like suspense,” she told the audience during a commercial break.

She told Blaine the endurance feat was “nerve-racking to witness.”

Next, Blaine said he plans to try to break the world record for staying awake. The current record is 11 1/2 days, he said. However, Guinness said it no longer acknowledges such attempts because of health concerns.

Blaine's previous stunts include being buried alive for a week in a see-through coffin, spending more than a month suspended in a box by the River Thames in London and being encased in a block of ice for 63 hours.