Coleraine showman to attempt Houdini’s death-defying water stunt

Magician Rodd Hogg will be handcuffed and placed in a sealed wooden crate and lowered into the water from a crane. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Magician Rodd Hogg will be handcuffed and placed in a sealed wooden crate and lowered into the water from a crane. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Magician Rodd Hogg will be plunged deep into the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Northern Ireland’s North Coast next month in his most dangerous public stunt yet.

The Coleraine showman’s ‘Great Harbour Escape’ will see the man they call the ‘Irish Magician’ being handcuffed inside a wooden crate and lowered by a crane into the sea at Portrush Harbour.

Rodd Hogg entertaining members of the Northern Ireland football team. INCR 17-707-CON

Rodd Hogg entertaining members of the Northern Ireland football team. INCR 17-707-CON

He will attempt his death-defying escape before the box fills up with water in a stunt similar to those carried out by master illusionist Harry Houdini in the early part of the last century.

“It’s definitely my most dangerous stunt yet and the first time it’s ever been attempted in Northern Ireland,” Rodd, 37, said.

“I’ll be handcuffed and placed in a sealed wooden crate and lowered into the water from a crane. The box will have holes in it to allow it to sink and I’ll have about three minutes to free myself from the handcuffs and box itself.”

Rodd is only too aware of the potentially fatal outcome of the daredevil stunt and says he is mentally preparing himself for any eventuality.

Magician Rodd Hogg (second from left) with Northern Ireland players, from left, Stuart Dallas, Niall McGinn and Michael McGovern. INCR 17-706-CON HOGG

Magician Rodd Hogg (second from left) with Northern Ireland players, from left, Stuart Dallas, Niall McGinn and Michael McGovern. INCR 17-706-CON HOGG

“Anything can happen - I might be surprised by the coldness of the water or just become disorientated and confused when I go under.

“I can only hold my breath for about two-and-a-half minutes so there’s the time factor too. One error could prove fatal.

“Although it’s a physical challenge it’s really all about being mentally prepared.”

Four years ago this June Rodd wowed over 200 onlookers when he escaped from handcuffs after jumping into the water at the Blue Pool in Portrush.

It was the great Hungarian escapologist Harry Houdini who first performed the underwater box escape in New York’s East River on July 7, 1912.

He was locked in handcuffs and leg-irons, then nailed into the crate which was roped and weighed down with two hundred pounds of lead. The box was lowered into the water - but still Houdini managed to escape in 57 seconds.

Rodd is grateful to local company CP Hire for allowing him to use one of their mini-cranes for the showpiece stunt which will be compered by former Radio Ulster presenter Alan Simpson on Sunday, May 28.

The dad of three, from Aghadowey, has just returned from performing two gigs in Cape Town, South Africa, arranged through Randalstown man Roy Picking.

Rodd earned his television breakthrough last summer with a superb six-part fly-on-the-wall series on Irish TV and has since performed for a number of showbiz celebrities and the Northern Ireland football team before their recent World Cup qualifying victory over Norway.

“I’m hoping lots of people come along and watch the stunt. It’s definitely going to be dramatic and a must see!”