An unidentified man climbed over a retaining wall and plunged down Horseshoe Falls in Ontario on Monday. ABC News reports the man had a gash on his head and rib injuries. It is unknown why the man, in his mid-30s, tried to traverse Niagara Falls. He is the fourth person known to have gone over the falls without protection and lived.
Roger Woodward was visiting Niagara Falls with his family on a sunny summer afternoon July 9, 1960. The 7-year-old was on a boat above the falls that developed engine trouble and all three people on board were swept over the side. The boat's operator was killed going over the falls. Woodward's 17-year-old sister was plucked from the water 20 feet from the edge of the 200-foot drop. The boy was wearing a life jacket and survived tumbling over Horseshoe Falls. InfoNiagara.com states the youngster spent three days in the hospital with a concussion. His sister only had cuts on her hands. Both rescues were called miracles.
Kirk Jones decided he was going to jump into Niagara Falls as a daredevil stunt. The only difficulty is that he only told his close family and friends what was coming in October 2003. None of the people he knew took him very seriously until CNN reported witnesses saw Jones smiling as he was floating on his back towards the falls. The 40-year-old took the dive over Horseshoe Falls and lived to give interviews later. Jones was uninjured and received a psychological evaluation. Everyone who has survived going over Niagara Falls has done so on the Canadian side of the Niagara River. The American Falls are much rockier.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company reported in March 2009 on an uncooperative man who jumped into Horseshoe Falls and received a gash on his head. Upon his rescue, the unidentified person refused medical treatment. The man had a sling placed upon him to be rescued but got out of it. He was in the frigid water for about 45 minutes before rescuers finally used a helicopter to create a current and got him to shore. The person had his clothes ripped off by the current and suffered from extreme hypothermia. It is illegal to attempt suicide by going over the falls, according to the Toronto Star.
NYFalls.com states there are about a dozen suicides each year at Niagara Falls. Some people are rescued before they reach the falls. There is a $10,000 fine for intentionally going over the side plus the costs of any rescue attempt. Over 5,000 bodies have been recovered since 1850.
William Browning is a research librarian.
- Niagara Falls
- Roger Woodward
- Horseshoe Falls