‘Magic Babe’ Ning to Attempt to Escape from “The Water Vault”

Ning & I have been selected to be the closing highlight of this year’s Singapore Night Festival that spans over two weekends in August.

We have created two mega stunts that will be staged, one a day, on the last two days of the festival, 30 & 31 Aug 2013 (Fri & Sat). 10pm on each day, in front of the historical National Museum. Admission is free.

The Water Vault and Ultimate Inversion

On 30 Aug 2013, Fri at 10pm at the National Museum, Ning will be presenting her latest breath-taking (literally) new mega stunt.

In this original stunt, she will attempt to survive “The Water Vault”; a stainless steel airtight safe filled to the absolute brim with water and shackled shut with heavy steel chains & metal locks.

Spectators in the audience will be invited on stage to examine the “Water Vault” as well as all the various chains, locks and shackles to prove that everything is legit and authentic.

After stripping down to a swimsuit, Ning will be checked for hidden keys via the use of a handheld metal detector. She will enter “The Water Vault” and her wrists, arms, neck and body will be shackled with the heavy-duty metal chains and padlocks. Ning will then submerge herself under water and the vault will be sealed with a stainless steel lid. 8 heavy duty chains are then wrapped around the safe and locked together.

Ning has to hold her breath under water and make her escape from all her restraints and from “The Water Vault” before running out of air.

While Ning has performed a number of different major escapes such as from “The Impalement Cage” in 2008 and many different versions of the straitjacket escape (double, inverted over spikes, inverted from a burning rope 35ft in the air), this will be her first underwater escape. In fact, this will be the first full view underwater escape ever presented in Singapore before!


Ning has wanted to perform an underwater stunt for the longest time. But as any serious escape artist professional will tell you, any form of underwater escape is dangerous. There is no such thing as a 100% safe underwater escape.

Over the years, I conceived three water-based stunts with basic methods/ presentations worked out and had them on the back burner for potential projects.

We did not move forward with any for a number of factors. Any underwater escape is a huge endeavor and the project needs to be significant enough to train, prepare and present such a stunt. In addition, the logistics and budget required to stage the stunt are substantial for everything to be done right.

When we were approached to create two stunts for the Night Festival, I immediately proposed The Water Vault as one of the stunts as it has a fresh look and is a unique “container” to escape from. It is a modern day version of Houdini’s “Milk Can” escape but with a much more secure and contemporary looking prop.

Most importantly, Ning will be performing the escape in full view of the audience without curtains or covers. In the traditional presentation of the “Milk Can Escape”, the escape is performed behind a curtain to hide the secret of the escape.

Ning begun a systematic underwater training regime to work on holding her breath underwater and subsequently performing tasks underwater. This started in March and continues on today with more intricate tasks being performed underwater.

“The Water Vault” itself has been fabricated from scratch. The main container is a solid welded unit made from heavy gauge stainless steel. It is extremely fitting with virtually no room for one’s body to maneuver once submerged inside. The main unit is mounted on a base fabricated from stainless steel and marine ply. The cover of the vault is equally, if not more formidable. Constructed from the same heavy gauge materials, the cover fits snugly over the main unit where it will be held tightly in place with 8 heavy duty stainless steel chains.

Final design for “The Water Vault” took about three months and fabrication took about two months, and is near completion. Here are some photos of “The Water Vault” in the workshop:

The Water Vault 1

The lid of “The Water Vault” is held down with 8 heavy duty chains.


“The Water Vault” is locked down with a total of seven industrial-grade padlocks.


The restraints that will hold Ning inside the vault include wrist chains, arm shackles and a body chain wrap. She has to pick her way out of four padlocks before she can work on getting out of the actual “water vault”.

The Water Vault Magic Babe Ning

A total of 11 locks of different types and models are used in this mega escape. We have custom designed and made lock-belts that the crew will wear for easy access for them to get the locks when Ning is being shackled up.

In any show production, dead-time must be eliminated to ensure the show’s pacing is not slow. Looking for the right locks during the lock-up process, especially when there are so many locks can be a significant amount of dead-time. Our lock-belts eliminate this.


Ning will be shackled in a full body restraint chain and shackle system before she submerges herself into the vault and it is sealed.

Ning Water Vault Chains 1


Come down to watch Ning attempt to escape from “The Water Vault”:

30 Aug 2013 (Fri)
Show time: 10pm
Venue: National Museum
Free Admission

Ning & I will also be attempting “Ultimate Inversion” the following day, same time, same place where we will be attempting the most extreme version of the upside down straitjacket escape ever created.

UPDATE: Ning has done it! Read, see and watch “The Water Vault” HERE!


About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
This entry was posted in Behind The Scenes, Upcoming Projects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to ‘Magic Babe’ Ning to Attempt to Escape from “The Water Vault”

  1. Pingback: A Busy Half Year Ahead with Magic, Illusions & Mega Stunts | BACKSTAGE BUSINESS

  2. weston says:

    I wonder how cramped Ning will be inside that vault. It looks like it’ll be a really tight fit! I’d imagine she’ll be displacing a lot of water once she starts submerging.

    • J C Sum says:

      It is a pretty tight fit, although Ning has fit into tighter spaces. But, this time, she will be wrapped with chains. She will displace water when she submerges but it will be topped up to the brim from pails once she is in the vault. Ala Houdini’s Milk Can Escape.

  3. Pingback: Details of “The Water Vault” Released with Photos | ILLUSION BOOKS – How to Perform, Design & Present Stage Illusions

  4. Lexi says:

    With all that metal hardware, how chilly the water inside the tank will be?

  5. Maximilian Draco says:

    Good luck Ning!

  6. Pingback: Win an Exclusive “The Water Vault” & “Ultimate Inversion” Autographed Poster | BACKSTAGE BUSINESS

  7. Looks fabulous JC ! All the best with the performance Ning! It’s nice to see something different in design and performance.

    Take care
    Richard Sherry and Dayle Krall

    • J C Sum says:

      Thanks Richard!

      Appreciate the support! You have been pushing the envelope with different escapes too so we are doing our part in the other end of the world! Hopefully, we will meet halfway in future 🙂

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