London, May 01 : American world record holding magician David Blaine has set a new world record by holding his breath underwater for 17 minutes and 4 seconds.
Blaine broke the previous record of 16 minutes 32 seconds that had been set earlier this year in Switzerland held by Peter Colat.
The 35-year-old magician, who insisted that his feat was no trick or illusion, said he had been aware his heart was beating irregularly towards the end of the stunt. "I feel great," the Telegraph quoted the silver wetsuit-clad American as saying as he was pulled to the surface.
"I actually started to doubt I was going to make it because I'd never done it with such a high heart rate," he said.
Blaine, whose previous stunts include spending 44 days in a glass box hung near the Thames in London, had been hoping to get to 23 minutes as he was suspended in a water-filled sphere on Oprah Winfrey's television talk show in Chicago. The only reason he managed to go all the way was because he stayed in a meditative state, helped by the stage lights reflecting off the sphere.
According to his assistants, his heart rate should have dropped far lower than it did during the event.
Before the latest attempt inside a sphere filled with 1,800 gallons of water, Blaine spent 23 minutes inhaling pure oxygen, packing his lungs with extra oxygen just before the breathing tubes were removed.
"There's no enhancement, no cheating," he told Winfrey, adding that while he makes his living as a magician, his stunts were about pushing the limits of the human body.