Man survives 180-ft plunge into Niagara Falls

May 23, 2012, 06:21 IST | Agencies

A man was winched to safety after becoming only the third person known to have survived a plunge over Niagara Falls. The man had plummeted at least 180 feet in an apparent suicide attempt on Monday.

Niagara Parks Police said witnesses saw him climbing over a railing and “deliberately jumped” into the Niagara River at Horseshoe Falls — the highest of three falls.

He surfaced in the lower Niagara River basin and made his own way to the bank. But fire chief Dan Orescanin said he appeared to have sustained chest injuries including broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

He said, “He waded ashore. 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. If he was in the main current, he would have been swept down river.”

Firefighters had to rappel down the rocky gorge and carry him high enough up the cliff for him to be winched up in a bright yellow rescue basket. Niagara Parks Police Sgt. Chris Gallagher said, “Based on witness statements and surveillance video, it doesn’t appear in any way, shape, or form that this was anything other than a suicide attempt.”

The last person to survive a plunge over the Falls unaided was a 30-year-old Canadian man in March 2009. Kirk Jones of Michigan became the first person to survive the leap on October 20, 2003, suffering only bruises, scrapes and battered ribs.

176 ft
The overall height of the Niagara Falls

28 mn
Approx number of tourists that flock to Niagara Falls each year

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