While rare, people have plummeted over Niagara Falls and survived before

Local News

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (WIVB) — The fact that a man was swept over Horseshoe Falls and survived on Tuesday is stunning, but not unprecedented.

Daredevils have tested their limits over the decades, and people have also made the choice to end their life there. On one notable occasion, the distinction wasn’t immediately clear.

Kirk Jones in 2003 notably became the first person to live after a plunge down the 167-foot-tall falls without a protective device. He initially told police he was depressed and was not trying to be a daredevil.

Jones died after a plunge over the falls in 2017, believed a stunt gone awry.

Two men who intentionally jumped into the water above the falls in the past decade both survived — one in 2009, and the other in 2012. Both were unidentified by authorities.

In 1960, a seven-year-old boy was swept over the falls after a boating accident wearing only a life preserver, but survived. That happened on July 9 – 59 years ago to the day.

Over the years, people have set out to survive the fall while in various contraptions, beginning with Annie Edson Taylor at the turn of the 20th century. Originally in barrels, then in reinforced capsules and even rubber balls, the sporadic attempts have captured the public’s attention, but away from the spotlight, it’s a place where others have ultimately let despair take over.

The Niagara County Department of Mental Health has established with Crisis Services a confidential number to call meant for anyone experiencing thoughts of self harm or suicide. That number is (716) 285-3515.

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