A hapless Houdini's latest trick almost cost him his life, with the charity stunt ending with him being yanked out of the ground unconscious.
Antony Britton has told how he "almost died" after attempting to outdo Harry Houdini by escaping unaided from a standard-sized grave while handcuffed six feet underground in Slaithwaite Spa.
The escapologist from Linthwaite, West Yorkshire, had to be pulled from the ground by crew members, almost nine minutes into his attempt on Saturday.
Britton is only the third person in 100-years to attempt the Buried Alive escape. Houdini tried it 1915 while British master of the craft Alan Alan had a shot in 1949. Both failed and had to be dug out.
Britton, who had to be given oxygen before regaining consciousness, suffered a cracked rib and several minor scratches.
He told The Huddersfield Daily Examiner: “I almost died.
“I was just seconds away from death. It was scary. The pressure of the soil was crushing around me. Even when I found an air pocket, when I exhaled the soil around me was crushing me even more. I could feel myself losing consciousness and there was nothing I could do about it. I was pretty much dying."
Britton said his crew saved his life: "The crew was well-drilled. They knew pretty much where I would be under the soil and after the digger had moved in behind me, the team were hand-balling the soil until they could reach me.”
On attempting the stunt that only two other escapologists had tried, Britton told the Mail Online: "I couldn't be more proud than to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those guys on this challenge."
Britton, who has previously escaped from a burning steel cage and wriggled out of a strait jacket suspended from a burning rope, performed his latest stunt at the Escape for Life event to raise money for charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The charity is changing its name to Bloodwise this month.
Britton, who heads not-for-profit company Escape for Life, had been due to undertake the stunt in Meltham in March but called off the event due to the weather. He told the Mail he won't be attempted it again.