Man recovering from icy Niagara Falls plunge

Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:18pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - The man who survived a plunge over Niagara's Horseshoe Falls and spent about 45 minutes naked in the icy waters below is in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery, Canadian police said on Thursday.

The man, who was swept over the roaring 51-meter (170-foot) falls on Wednesday after jumping into the Niagara River, was treated for hypothermia, shock and cuts to his forehead.

He is just the second person to live through an unaided, intentional plunge over the cataract.

"The male is conscious and he has been upgraded to a stable condition, and doctors are telling us that he is expected to make a full recovery in the near future," said a spokesman for the Niagara Parks Police.

The spokesman said police have closed their investigation and concluded that the Canadian man -- initially identified as an American tourist -- was attempting suicide and no charges will be pressed.

The man resisted efforts to be rescued and was naked when he was pulled from the frigid waters below the falls in front of hundreds of tourists. Police said the man was dressed when he jumped in the water but that the force of the powerful waterfall is enough to strip the clothes off someone.

Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls: the main Horseshoe Falls and American Falls, and the smaller Bridal Veil Falls. They span the border between Canada and the United States. The Horseshoe Falls sends about 675,000 gallons of water over the edge every second.

In 2003, a U.S. tourist survived an unaided plunge over the Horseshoe Falls, also in an attempted suicide. He eventually joined the circus as a stunt man.   Continued...