Ailing stunt man David Blaine failed his quest to set a new world record for holding his breath underwater yesterday (08MAY06) - after spending seven days submerged in a glass aquarium weakened his body beyond expectations. The 33-year-old missed his goal by almost two minutes, holding his breath for just seven minutes and eight seconds. The world record currently stands at eight minutes and 58 seconds. Blaine had planned to free himself from chains and handcuffs during his breath-holding stunt, but as air escaped from his mouth, divers jumped in, freed him and lifted him out of the water. Afterwards he thanked the assembled Lincoln Square, New York, crowd for their support, saying, "This was a very difficult week but you all made it fly by with your strong spirit, your energy, thank you so much everybody." Doctor MURAT GUNEL, who heads Blaine's medical team, said the challenge had damaged the magician's liver and caused a loss of sensation throughout his body, as well as rashes and considerable skin damage.