A look at the history of those who have plunged over Niagara Falls, and survived

Local News

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)– The Horseshoe Falls are mesmerizing for tourists, but sadly a powerful attraction for people trying to end their lives. Some two dozen people die deliberately entering the water here each year, and it’s believed that’s what an unidentified man was trying to do Monday night but somehow survived.

“I’m surprised he survived, I never heard of that happening,” Vickie Roy from California said.

It was a boating accident that took seven-year-old Roger Woodward over the falls wearing only a life preserver exactly 59 years ago on July 9, 1960.

But the falls are also a big attraction for daredevils. More than a century ago the trick was to ride in a wooden barrel.

By the 1980s the barrels were more elaborate. David Munday succeeded on his first and third tries

In 2003, Kirk Jones survived a plunge over the falls, believed to be the first person to survive the fall without protection.

“It was a glassy surreal experience, so loud and thunderous, a lot of pressure on my head,” Jones said.

Jones added, “I thank god — and I reached out and touched the hand of God and he smiled upon me that day…thank you.”

It was never clear whether his plunge was a stunt or a suicide attempt. Almost 14 years later in 2017, he braved the falls again this time in an inflatable ball and he perished. His earlier good fortune challenging the mighty Niagara in 2003 had run out.

It’s believed there have been at least two other people to deliberately go over the falls, unprotected, and live. But their names, like the name of last night’s survivor, have not been released by police to protect their privacy.

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