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Some Wallenda spectators not sure what they saw over Niagara Falls

Some of the small gathering of spectators who watched Erendira Wallenda's gymnastic show while dangling beneath a helicopter said they couldn't tell for sure when she was hanging by her teeth during her 12-minute performance above the Horseshoe Falls.

"I couldn't tell. I was trying to wait for it," said Brian Chambers of Niagara Falls.

Photo gallery: Erendira Wallenda hangs by her teeth over Niagara Falls

"You could see at one point, her hands and her feet were hanging free, so there's no doubt at that point, she was dangling from her teeth," said Gregory Owczarek of Elma, who relied on his camera's zoom lens. "Her hands were extended and her legs were extended. It wasn't for long."

"It was awesome. She's crazy," said his wife, Dallas Owczarek.

Chambers also was surprised at the small turnout – perhaps 500 or so people were at Niagara Falls to watch Wallenda's stunt, some of them with tour groups who simply showed up at the right moment. Five years ago, tens of thousands of people watched from the ground as Wallenda's husband, Nik, crossed over Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

By the skin of her teeth, Erendira Wallenda conquers Niagara Falls

"I got here at quarter to seven because I didn't know what the crowd was. I could have gotten here at quarter after eight and gotten the same spot," Chambers said.

"We were here five years ago for the Nik walk, so we wanted to come back," Gregory Owczarek said.

So did Kathleen Culbreth of Niagara Falls, wearing her 2012 Nik Wallenda T-shirt.

"I really thought there'd be more (spectators). It's kind of disappointing," Culbreth said. "I still think it's a good event. It's a positive. I think she's very brave to do this."

"I really thought this would be mobbed," Von Bath of the Town of Tonawanda said.

Mikhel Reddy, a tourist from India, was one of the lucky tourists who just happened to be in Niagara Falls at the same time as Wallenda performed her stunt.

"I didn't know there would be a stunt going on here," said Reddy. He said he was actually leaving the park Thursday morning when he heard about the stunt in the parking lot, so he came back.

"It was absolutely fantastic," he said. But when asked if he saw Wallenda hanging by her teeth, he said, "No."

"I think a lot of people aren't here because of the timing. They work," Bonnie Rinow of North Tonawanda said. A retired teaching aide, she and her husband Jim Rinow showed up at 6 a.m. and found themselves almost alone in the park.

"It was just so quiet and beautiful," Bonnie Rinow said.

"We were kind of lucky, because it just sort of happened," said 11-year-old Haley Shirley of Dallas. "It was pretty amazing."

Haley said she didn't see Wallenda hanging by her teeth. "We looked at her through binoculars, but I couldn't really see it, because I was taking turns (with the binoculars)."

Her cousin, 8-year-old Rylee Ray of Iowa, insisted she saw the teeth-hanging portion of the stunt.

"I liked it whenever she hung by her toes. That was really cool. When her arms went out, it didn't look like she was hanging by her teeth, but I knew she was," Rylee said.

Kevin and Elyse Kay of Bartonsville, Pa., said they had no knowledge of the stunt until Thursday morning, when they overheard a conversation about it in downtown Niagara Falls. So after checking online, they headed for Terrapin Point.

"It made our vacation more interesting," Elyse Kay said. "It's not something you see every day. It's not like many people can say they saw a woman do that over Niagara Falls."

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