Attempts to Go Over Niagara Falls in the Barrel

Annie Edson Taylor, the first person who'd survived a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel on 24 October 1901.
Annie Edson Taylor, the first person who'd survived a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel on 24 October 1901.

The Niagara Falls is a collective name given to the three waterfalls that bestride the national border between the Ontario Province of Canada and the state of New York in the United States. The largest waterfall is the Horseshoe Falls followed by the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls (the smallest of the three). The Horseshoe Falls is entirely located in Canada while the American Falls is entirely located in the US and they are separated by the Goat Island. Bridal Veil Falls also lies on the US side separated from the other two waterfalls by Luna Island. Niagara Falls is located on the Niagara River which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario then combines to form the world's highest flow rate that comprises of a vertical drop that is more than 50 meters. The Horseshoe Falls is considered to be North Americas’ most powerful waterfall as per vertical height and flow rate. The Niagara Falls is believed to have formed during the last ice age when water from the newly structured Great Lakes arched a path through the Niagara Escarpment on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the Niagara Falls not being extraordinarily high, they are very wide. The Niagara Falls is famous for not only its breathtaking scenery but also for its valuable source of hydroelectric power.

The Wonders Of The Niagara Falls

Over hundreds of years, many people have traveled from all over the world to visit and experience the spectacle that is the Niagara Falls. The Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side covers 2,600 feet (792 m) wide, while the American Falls covers 1,060 feet (323 m) wide. The highest vertical drop is on the Horseshoe covering 173 feet (53 m). The Niagara Falls has an average flow of 4 million cubic feet (110,000 cubic meters) per minute. The Horseshoe Falls constitute about 90% of the water volume. Besides, the three falls Niagara has many wonders including the Niagara Escapement and its unique geological features, the beautiful landscape for hiking, among other natural wonders that make the falls a major tourist destination.

The Dangers Lurking Behind The Scenic Falls

Swimming, climbing or going over the Niagara Falls is extremely hazardous activity that can potentially put a person's life at risk of bodily injury or death. It is estimated that about 5,000 corpses were recovered at the foot of Niagara Falls between the years of 1850-2011 and an estimated 40 people die each year due the falls. The Falls experience extremely high rapid acceleration and declaration which have caused serious injuries. American Falls is rockier especially at the foot compared to the other falls.

The Daredevils Who Challenged Nature

Over the years many daredevils have attempted to go over the falls by either jumping while inside barrels or walking on tightropes over the falls. In most of the cases, the daredevils survived while some plunged to death.

Annie Edison Taylor

Taylor was an American teacher born October 24, 1838, and on October 24, 1901, she became the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel and managed to survive the jump unharmed but suffered minor cuts. It was on her 63rd birthday when she attempted the stunt, and her motives were financial though she never made much money from the adventure.

Bobby Leach

On July 25, 1911, Bobby Leach went over the Niagara Falls in a barrel but sustained injuries as the aftermath. Leach fractured his jaw, broke his kneecaps and spent the next six months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

Kirk Jones

On October 22nd, 2003, Kirk Jones went over the falls without any help in the fall. Jones had swum 91 meters before swimming over the falls becoming the first person to do so. Since Jones had been drinking before the incident and did not adhere to the protective measure, he was fined a fee of $2,300 and was banned for life from entering Canada.

The Unfortunate Deaths On The Niagara

The Niagara Falls has had an equal share of successful jumps and tragedies leading to death. Below are some of the unfortunate people who died in the Niagara Falls.

Ed Delahanty

On July 2, 1903, a baseball player Ed Delahanty was thrown off a night train for being drunk and disorderly but plunged to his death at the International Railway Bridge. Ed's body was later recovered but his body was mangled and one of his legs severed.

Jessie Sharp

On June 5, 1990, Jessie Sharp decided to paddle over the Niagara Falls in a kayak and had intended to continue paddling down the river after the fall. Unfortunately Sharp disappeared after going over the fall, and his body was never recovered. Sharp had opted not to wear a life jacket in case it hindered his chances of escaping in the event he got trapped beneath the falls.

Robert Overacker

On October 1, 1995, Robert Overacker attempted to go over the Niagara Falls on a jet ski to help raise awareness for the homeless people. Unfortunately, Overacker's parachute which was rocket propelled failed to open, and he plunged to his death, but his body was recovered before he was pronounced dead.

The Miraculous Escapes

Despite the Niagara Falls being a beautiful spectacle, it is also a dangerous place. Many people have attempted to go over the falls some not making it and others going through near-death experiences. Below are some of the people who narrowly escaped death after attempting to go over the Niagara Falls.

On March 10, 2009, an unnamed man attempted suicide by jumping over the Niagara Falls. Fortunately, he survived the plunge but suffered a laceration to the head and shock, and his clothes were ripped off his body. On May 21, 2012, an unnamed man became the fourth person to survive the fall over Horseshoe Falls without any kind of protection.The man, however, suffered lacerations and one of his lungs collapsed and broke some of his ribs.

Safety And Security Measures In Place

There is a great risk in exploring most of the surrounding areas around the Niagara Falls thus the need for safety and security measures. There are public safety planning and visitor risk management strategies. There are also appropriate levels of search and rescue services. The cooperation between various tourism institutions, nongovernmental organizations and other departments help manage and ensure safety within the area. Nightly and individual visitations are prohibited around Niagara Falls. Stunting without a license is illegal, and the current fine stands at $10,000.There are plenty of other safety and security measures put in place to protect the public the above-mentioned are just a few.


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