05/10/2006 AT 7:40 AM ET
David Blaine was having convulsions and was “unconscious when we brought him to the surface” to be rescued from his 2,000-gallon saltwater tank during a breath-holding stunt on Monday night, according to his trainer.
Even so, Blaine’s team tells the Associated Press that the illusionist wants to try the stunt again – only next time he plans to do it without being in a tank for a week beforehand.
“He is going over everything he did and analyzing what happened,” said Dr. Murat Gunel, the head of Blaine’s medical team. “He is remarkably strong.”
As for pulling Blaine out of his bubble on Monday: “I wasn’t focused on records; I was thinking of a rescue,” said trainer Kirk Krack, a free-diving expert. “If we hadn’t intervened, he would still be at the bottom of the sphere doing a breath-hold.”
Blaine, 33, had been submerged in the aquarium with an oxygen mask for a week. He was saved as he struggled to break a breath-holding record of 8 minutes, 58 seconds. Instead, he made it to 7 minutes, 8 seconds as a finale to his endurance stunt at Lincoln Center, which was televised live on ABC.
Blaine checked himself out of Roosevelt Hospital on Tuesday. Friends escorted him out in a wheelchair and then assisted his getting into a waiting car. Once home, he took a hot shower, played cards and was able to eat.
But “he was crying” Monday night, said Dr. Murat Gunel, the head of Blaine’s medical team. “He still feels today that he let people down.”
In addition, Blaine’s liver and kidney functions suffered while he was submerged but are now improving. His skin, which was peeling Monday night, “looks much better today,” said Gunel.
His team concluded that strenuous training and losing 50 pounds so his body would require less oxygen left Blaine too tired before he entered the sphere.