In the entire history of Niagara Falls, only two people have survived going over without any safety devices. Now a third has joined this bizarre club.
A man in his 40s plunged at least 180 feet over Niagara Falls in an apparent suicide attempt, but survived and was lifted to safety during a harrowing rescue.
Niagara Parks Police say witnesses reported seeing the man climb over a railing at 10:20am on Monday and “deliberately jump” above Horseshoe Falls and into the Niagara River.
He surfaced in the river basin near an observation platform.
‘He waded ashore,’ said Platoon Chief Dan Orescanin of the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Fire Department.
‘He must have gotten swept into an eddy, floated over there and was able to get out on his own.
That’s another stroke of luck,’ Orescanin said. ‘If he was in the main current, he would have been swept down river.’
Orescanin said the man was conscious and talking at first but got quiet. He appeared to have chest injuries, including broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
A waiting helicopter flew him to a hospital.
Kirk Jones of Canton, Michigan became the first known person to survive a plunge over the Horseshoe Falls without a flotation device on October 20, 2003.
While it is still not known whether Jones was determined to commit suicide, he survived the 16-story fall with only battered ribs, scrapes, and bruises.
A second person survived an unprotected trip over the Horseshoe Falls on March 11, 2009 and when rescued from the river, was reported to be suffering from severe hypothermia and a large wound to his head.
His identity has not been released. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the man intentionally enter the water.
Survivors of stunts usually face charges and stiff fines, as it is illegal, on both sides of the border, to attempt to go over the falls.