'I Dare You': Cuomo's Death-Defying Drop

Watch GMA's Chris Cuomo plunge 400 feet down the side of a building.

ByABC News via GMA logo
February 9, 2009, 12:55 PM

Feb. 19, 2008 — -- "Good Morning America" anchor Chris Cuomo risked life and limb this morning, jumping off the top of a 51-story building.

As part of the "GMA" anchors' "I Dare You" series, Chris plunged almost 400 feet from the top of the Taj Mahal Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on live television.

With the help of Hollywood's top stunt team, Chris trained for the stunt in which he free-fell down the side of the building using a descender, like the one that actress Angelina Jolie uses in the film "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Just as Chris was about to jump, celebrity magician David Blaine called in to give him some last-minute advice. Blaine told Chris to "try and breathe nice and easy" and stay calm and collected.

Beside his expert trainer Joni Avery, Chris plunged down the side of the Taj Mahal for nearly 10 seconds of free fall.

For Chris' heroic efforts, Mark Juliano, CEO of Trump Entertainment, met Chris on the ground, where he pledged $20,000 to Mentoring USA and another $20,000 to a charity of Chris' choosing. Chris donated the money to a fund in honor of the students killed at Northern Illinois University.

Though he's an intrepid reporter who has faced fire, flooding and war, Chris is seriously afraid of heights.

Psychologists say that part of the reason is physiological and that people like Chris just can't stop searching for the ground.

"People that have acrophobia can't stop using the visual cues. And that creates the heart going faster, your adrenaline starts to pump and that's when they start to feel that anxiety and they can actually get into a full-blown panic attack," said Michael J. Bradley.

The "I Dare You" series is all about challenging the anchors to step outside their personal comfort zones. Earlier this month anchor Robin Roberts strutted down the catwalk without wearing her wig in Isaac Mizrahi's New York fashion show.