MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - A man from Hartselle made history Friday when he became the first person in the United States to swallow a steel sword underwater in a tank as live sharks and stingrays swam by.
Dan "Capt. Cutless" Myers performed the stunt to promote Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.
Meyer swallowed a 30-inch-long, solid-steel sword while submerged 15 feet underwater and surrounded by more than 80 sharks and stingrays.
Even on dry land, the feat is dangerous. Last year, Meyer said, he ended up in the hospital with a punctured stomach that caused pleurisy and fluid around his heart and lungs after he swallowed five swords at once.
"The worst injuries occur when trying to swallow a sword when the throat is tender and swollen," he said after the stunt Friday. "I was really worried because I've had a 'sword throat' with swelling that had me really concerned and almost made me call it off this morning."
Then when he got into the tank, he found it was "much more difficult to lean my head back and open my mouth 15 feet underwater and surrounded by 85,000 gallons of saltwater.
"When I opened my mouth to swallow the sword, the air rushed up out of my lungs. Not only did I have to focus on swallowing the sword correctly without impaling myself, but I had to contend with the sharks and stingrays not bumping into me while concentrating on not drowning."
But he said he succeeded even though he had eaten a meal a half-hour beforehand.