UPDATE: According to CJOB 68: Manitoba's Information Superstation, Dean Gunnarson survived and succeeded just minutes ago.
His latest escape attempt defies both belief and the naturally imprinted sense of self-preservation. Mr. Gunnarson's had him miles high in the frigid mountains of Xining, China. (Think Superman's crystal home or Wolverine's den).
He intended to be locked and chained by the Chinese military inside a tomb of ice on a frozen lake high in the mountains. His goal: to escape within 100 seconds before a bus explodes and drops on him.
From the press release:
Locked and chained by the Chinese military inside of a tomb of ice on a frozen lake high in the mountains in China. A ten ton bus loaded with explosives will be raised above him by a crane and then, Gunnarson will have exactly 100 seconds (an important number in China) before the bus will explode and drop on him from a timer, crushing the ice tomb and him if he is inside. Dean will attempt this escape on a frozen lake that is the largest in all of China. It is located about 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) west of the provincial capital of Xining at 3,205 m (10,515 feet) above sea level in a depression of the Tibetan Plateau in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo, located between Tibet and Mongolia. This escape is extremely dangerous because of the cold but even more so from the high evaluation and lack of oxygen this high up.
Mr. Gunnarson told Inside Magic that he has been training in the thin air but it brought on altitude sickness. “The lack of air and trying to do even small things just leaves me grasping for breath. This is like nothing I have ever encountered before.”
If he lives, the Chinese government will award him the title "World's Greatest Escape Artist." If he fails, he will likely not be given the title of World's Greatest Escape Artist. We're just guessing about this. The Chinese press did not discuss what happens if the bus explodes and lands on him whilst still chained.
As loyal readers of Inside Magic know, Mr. Gunnarson is a very scary man. He seems so nice and gentlemanly but there's a crazy side to him. He does stunts that are anything but sure-fire or fixed. Check out his mistiming while trying to escape from a roller coaster track. That escape (sort of) was in China as well. We hope he has correctly converted the 100 seconds into the metric equivalent and escapes unharmed. The roller coaster collision shattered his ankle and fibia.
Mr. Gunnarson has performed more than 200 times for Chinese television over the last ten years. They love him and that is why they hope he succeeds today.
"It's quite an honour to have had so much success in China," Mr. Gunnarson said. "A lot of the people here don't have a lot of freedom of expression, which is why they keep hiring escape artists to . . . entertain them. We symbolize freedom to them."
We'll let you know as soon as we hear.
Check out Mr. Gunnarson's web site to see videos of stunts that will make you fall into a fetal position, searching for your "happy place."