May 22nd, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Man survives plunge over Niagara Falls; 2nd attempt reported Tuesday

A man survived a 180-foot plunge over Niagara Falls on Monday, becoming only the fourth person to do so without any protective devices, according to news reports.

The man, who has not been identified, climbed over a retaining wall above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls before jumping into the Niagara River and being swept over the falls, according to a report from CNN affiliate CTV.

Thought to be around 40 years old, the man sustained injuries including several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and gashes to his head and shoulders, according to a report in the Buffalo News.

He was pulled to safety by emergency crews on the Canadian side of the river after collapsing in waist-deep water, according to a report from CNN affiliate WGRZ in Buffalo.

"When I first looked at him, it was quite apparent that he was in a state not only of shock, hypothermia had probably started to set in," Sgt. Chris Gallagher of the Niagara Falls Parks Police told WGRZ.

"He just happened to come down the river into an eddy, and that enabled him to get out. If he had been in the main current, he wouldn't have survived," Niagara Falls, Ont., Fire Department platoon chief Dan Orescanin told the News.

The man was in stable condition at Hamilton General Hospital in Ontario on Tuesday morning, according to a report from the CBC.

On Tuesday morning, New York State Park Police said they'd received a report on a second person going over the falls, this time the American Falls, the Buffalo News reported.

Lt. Patrick Moriarty said they were interviewing witnesses and believe it was a suicide attempt, the News reported.

The man who survived on Monday is only the fourth person to survive a plunge over the Horseshoe Falls, historian Paul Gromosiak told the News.

The others include a 30-year-old Canadian man in 2009, a Michigan man in 2003 and a 7-year-old boy in 1960, according to the news reports.

"There are odds that you will survive, but they're so minuscule that it's impossible to comprehend," Gromosiak told the News. "Out of the thousands who have come here to commit suicide over the years, we have two who did survive."

Monday's incident had not yet been labeled a suicide attempt, according to the reports.

Body of woman swept over falls recovered

Woman swept to death over Niagara Falls

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Filed under: Canada • Niagara Falls
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Louie

    "Hold my drink for me, I want to try something..."

    May 22, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. carolae

    Dah......what would you call it if not a suicide! The man climbed over the wall on his own...had he been drinking and didn't know what he was doing??? That would be the best answer but to just jump over certainly sounds like suicide to me. I wonder if someone made a substantial bet on him doing it and he took them up on their offer. Either way, he is still alive and breathing. Hopefully he'll re-think doing this the next time. Of course, if you want to kill yourself, there are always other ways. Very sad if he left a family behind. Worse of all, his parents are probably in their 70's and must be devastated.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. T. E. Lawrence O. A.

    IT'S NOT CLEAR right away that this guy did this on purpose. CNN could have done a much better job of being clear about this important fact.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jumbotron

      Somebody forced him to climb over a WALL and jump into the water? I don't think that happens by accident. I don't think he was walking along, and said, 'Hey, I'll just climb this wall that appears to be here to keep people from being on the other side.' Then, as he comes over the top, sees the water, adds, 'Oh, water! I think I'll just go for a swim. Sure those falls are dangerous looking, but I'm the next Michael Phelps, I'll be fine!'

      No...I think he jumped the wall trying to kill himself.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      If he climbed over a retaining wall and jumped.... isn't it pretty obvious?

      May 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sodomite

      ....."the man, who has not been identified, climbed over a retaining wall above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls before jumping in...."

      I see comprehension is not your thing.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • coloretaf

      T. E. Lawrence O. A.: "IT'S NOT CLEAR right away that this guy did this on purpose." Really? "...climbed over a retaining wall above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls before jumping into the Niagara River". How much more "on purpose" can you get?

      May 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 28mAmerican

    Im sorry but who accidentally scales retaining fences at niagra falls with out a death wish.

    Get this guy some help. And dont leave him alone.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. er

    First of all, "scaling a fence" is not that hard in many places in the falls area. Gee..I'm 5'2" and I could simply step over many of the railings (or shimmy under). Not that I doubt it was a suicide attmept, but you should not draw your own idea of the fence until you see it. I was always terrified seeing the falls in winter as you could slide under the rail on the ice if you weren't careful. There are spots slightly up river that have no fencing...or head to the Tonawandas and jump in the Niagara River to eventually float over the falls.
    As for those of you despising a person attempting suicide...wait until it affects your family. Such a desperate loss of hope is not selfish, but sad.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. WhackyWaco

    Canada is full of Liberals who want to end their lives. Unfortunately, he failed.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conservatism: A mental disorder...

      "Canada is full of Liberals who want to end their lives."

      Weak-minded people are able to convince themselves of anything...

      May 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    If it was Obama....somebody pushed him!

    May 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    Maybe he saw something shiny in the water and went to get it.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Norm

    thousands of people go here to commit suicide every year? maybe something can be done about that fact!

    May 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ebony

      And while they're at it, perhaps they should dismantle all the bridges in the world to keep people from jumping!

      May 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ebony

      And before someone gets offended by my comment, let me point out that obviously I was being sarcastic.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DK

    I don't think anyone should waste taxpayer money or risk their own life to save someone that obviously was looking to end his own life. Just get him when he washes ashore.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wayne

    1) Since when is CTV a CNN affiliate?
    2) Suicide attempt? In this case, based on witness statements, almost certainly. But these "retaining walls" aren't some 10-foot high barrier designed to keep everything out. They are simply barriers designed to keep people from walking too close to the edge - they're not more than 3 or 4 feet high - they're considered "walls" because they're permanent. Only last August a woman fell into the Falls (and died) when she fell off the railing while posing for photos.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Julie

    Being saved was one of my biggest fears, when I was suicidal! I have been there, know very well what it feels like and it is a desperate loss of hope (as was mentioned). If someone wishes to judge....then the problem is with the one judging.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Niagra Falls is for lovers.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sandeelou

    Ben Tracey....I'm still laughing at your post....
    I say (and pardon the pun) GET HIM OUT OF THE GENE POOL.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TallyChick19

    Either the guy was trying to kill himself (most probable), was seriously mentally ill and off his meds, or he was trying to be a daredevil.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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