U.S. man survives Niagara Falls plunge

Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:40pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - An American man survived a fall over Niagara's Horseshoe Falls and became just the second person to live through an unaided and intentional plunge over the massive cataract, Canadian police said on Wednesday.

Around mid-afternoon, police said they received a call from a tourist who saw a man climb over a retaining wall and jump into the Niagara River before being swept over the roaring 51-meter (170-foot) waterfall.

"All indications at this point in the investigation lead us to believe that he did so on of his own accord and it was of that nature," said a spokesman for the Niagara Parks Police.

The man was being treated in a Niagara Falls, Ontario, hospital and police said an investigation was under way.

The Horseshoe Falls, one of the world's most popular tourist attractions, sends about 675,000 gallons of water over its edge per second. It is one of two massive waterfalls, along with the American Falls, that span the U.S.-Canada border.

Decades ago daredevils would tempt fate and go over the Horseshoe Falls in barrels or other protective devices -- often without much luck. That is now an illegal stunt that can result in a fine or jail time.

In 2003, another U.S. tourist survived an unaided plunge over the Horseshoe Falls in an attempt at suicide.

A young boy also survived a fall over the cataract in 1960 after the boat he was in capsized.

(Editing by Rob Wilson)

<p>The "Maid of the Mist" moves past the American Falls, United States side (rear), at Niagara Falls, New York July 28, 2007. REUTERS/Gary Cameron</p>