'AGT' sword swallower almost dies after swallowing-act goes horribly wrong
Chris Steele, who has been swallowing swords for over ten years, is fortunate to be alive after his trick turned out badly.
Steele, also known by his stage name Captain Steele, has appeared with his wife and fellow sideshow performer Elaina Steele on "America's Got Talent" and "Ripley's Believe it Or Not," as reported by CBC Radio.
After an early Halloween show at the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta on October 25, he swallowed 13 swords at once. He has finished the act many times previously. However, this time he ended up with a perforated esophagus.
The veteran circus performer has been recovering in a Georgia hospital.
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In an interview with "As It Happens" host Carol Off, Steele explained that during the trick he pushes 13 swords “down into my esophagus, and then I spin them 180 degrees and pull them out.”
He continued, “Well, instead of pushing through that, I pushed through the side wall of my esophagus and pushed it 16 inches down into my chest cavity, and then spun it 180 degrees and pulled it out and somehow avoided hurting any of my internal organs ... it's a miracle I'm even sitting here talking to you today."
When asked what went wrong that time, he said that it was an exhausting day.
"I had worked two big gigs before that ... then we went and did our full show, and then after that I did a part that I do with a band that was local," he said.
"I ended up doing the stunt, but it was in a venue that had very low ceilings. A lot of times when I am in a venue with low ceilings, I've dropped to one knee and I'm able to do it anyway. In this case I think a combination of exhaustion, of just not having [the] angle right and so forth, it happened."
According to Steele, he instantly realized that something had gone seriously wrong when he noticed a lot of blood on the swords. But he didn't know whether it occurred inside his esophagus or if he perforated his esophagus.
Speaking about the audience reaction to the incident, he said that "they never knew a thing happened."
Steele also said that he would return to sword swallowing when he gets out because it's what he was destined to do.