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Soft landing for 'human dominoes' in China

Over 1,000 volunteers worked together to break the Guinness World Record for 'human mattress dominoes.' NBC News Ed Flanagan reports from Beijing.

BEIJING – It may have been all talk of hard landings and poor economic numbers last week in most of China, but volunteers in Shanghai over the weekend found themselves on softer ground. 

This past Saturday, 1,001 volunteers in Shanghai came together at an unused section of a shopping mall in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “human mattress dominoes.” The idea was to have people and mattresses line up and fall on top of each other like, well, dominoes.

Rules of the event were simple: each participant must touch the person behind them and there needed to be a consecutive chain of toppling mattresses.

Wielding a radio with one hand and clutching his vertical mattress with the other, the first participant called out “Starting!” before leaning back into his mattress onto another volunteer.

That kicked off a wave of mattresses falling that took 10 minutes to finish. Cheers erupted from onlookers and the fallen as the last volunteer collapsed on his mattress, officially crushing the previous record held by La Quinta Inns & Suites in the United States, which in February of this year mobilized 850 of its employees in New Orleans to break the world record.

All of the participants in Shanghai this weekend were given $6.30, a souvenir shirt and a certificate of participation.

“We need good teamwork,” said one of the volunteers. “All the participants from the first to the last, must act like one person… that is dominoes.”

Gathering 1,000 people for the spectacle took a great deal of organization, said Cheng Dong, an authenticator from Guinness World Records. As well as… bravery?

“Our volunteers were all very brave. No one dodged when the 2-meter-high (6.56ft) mattress fell onto them,” he said.