Police to charge man who survived plunge over Niagara Falls

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    From CNN/AP (reproduced below):

    Police to charge man who survived plunge over Niagara Falls

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003 Posted: 2:25 PM EDT (1825 GMT)

    Niagara survivor

    Kirk Jones waits at the shoreline at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls after surviving a plunge over Niagara Falls.

    NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) — A man who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls with only the clothes on his back will be charged with illegally performing a stunt, Niagara Parks Police said Tuesday.

    Kirk Jones, 40, of Canton, Michigan, is the first person known to have gone over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls without safety devices and lived. He could be fined $10,000.

    Stunned tourists described seeing Jones float by on his back Monday in the swift Niagara River, go headfirst over the churning 180-foot waterfall and then pull himself out of the water onto the rocks below.

    “He just looked calm. He just was gliding by so fast. I was in shock really that I saw a person go by,” Brenda McMullen told WIVB-TV in Buffalo.

    Jones was not seriously injured and remained hospitalized in Niagara Falls in stable condition.

    Police said they were ruling out the possibility it was a suicide attempt.

    “We’re investigating it as an intentional act,” Niagara Parks Police Inspector Paul Fortier said.

    He said psychological tests were being conducted at the hospital.

    Fortier said police have a videotape of the act that they believe was made by someone who accompanied Jones. That person has not been charged.

    Water rushes over the falls at a rate of 150,000 gallons per second.

    Only one other person is known to have survived a plunge over the Canadian falls without a barrel or other contraption — a 7-year-old boy who was wearing a life preserver when he fell into the water in a 1960 boating accident.

    No one has ever survived a trip over the narrower and rockier American falls.

    Since 1901, 15 daredevils have taken the plunge in barrels or other devices, including a kayak and a water jet-powered personal watercraft. Ten survived, said Niagara Falls historian Paul Gromosiak, who has written books on the subject.

    Suicides are not uncommon at Niagara Falls, although police are reluctant to give numbers.

    Lynda Satelmajer, of Brampton, Ontario, said she and her family watched the man as he entered the river and then went over the falls.

    “He seemed a bit edgy, kind of jumping around,” she said. “He walked over to where we were standing and he jumped and slid down on his backside and went over the brink.

    “It was really freaky, actually. He was smiling.”

    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.

    More on going over the falls

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    The post I just made reminded me of the person who went over the falls a few years ago without any protection and survived. Kirk Jones certainly had his 15 minutes of fame. At first it was thought it was a suicide, and then it turns out that he had someone filming it.

    I found a couple of articles on the CNN web site about people going over the falls:

    Kirk Jones

    Other People

    Maid of the Mist tours sail into new season

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    From CNN/AP (reproduced below):

    Maid of the Mist tours sail into new season

    Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 11:42 AM EDT (1542 GMT)

    A Maid of the Mist ship exits the base of Horseshoe Falls

    A Maid of the Mist ship exits the base of Horseshoe Falls.

    A group of tourists brave opening day on the bow of a Maid of the Mist ship

    A group of tourists brave opening day on the bow of a Maid of the Mist ship.

    NIAGARA FALLS, New York (AP) — Capt. Gary English powered the Maid of the Mist away from its dock and headed toward Niagara Falls and its walls of rushing whitewater looming more than 17 stories high.

    He had 300 people aboard the boat for its first run of the year on April 21. By the season’s close in October, more than 2 million tourists will have been showered by mist from the famous waterfall aboard one of the double-decker boats in the Maid of the Mist fleet. Boats called Maid of the Mist have been bringing people here for more than 150 years.

    “The water temperature is 36 degrees. They’re going to be cold out there today,” English said as the steel boat churned through the lower Niagara River and into the basin that catches the water after its drop over the falls.

    Passengers standing outside on the decks pulled the hoods of blue disposable raincoats tight against the spray but made no moves to avoid it, not wanting to miss the spectacular view of Niagara Falls from below.

    “It’s brilliant,” said Ailsa Clark, visiting from Australia with her sister, Wendy.

    English seldom fails to please as he ferries passengers for this close-up view. Adults pay $11.50 and children $6.75 for the 20-minute ride.

    “You don’t often see anyone who’s not happy at the end,” he said.

    “They’re cold and wet, but they’re happy,” added mate Laurie Acker, who works alongside English in the small cabin.

    Niagara Falls is located on the international border between the U.S. and Canada, with cascades on both sides. The American Falls are 184 feet high and 1,060 feet wide, and the Canadian Falls — also called Horseshoe Falls — are 176 feet high and 2,200 feet wide. The falls are not the world’s widest or tallest, but the sight of their powerful flow — 748,000 gallons per second, much of which is harnessed today for hydroelectric power — has been drawing tourists since the early 1800s.

    Niagara Falls State Park was created in 1885, and visitors have been riding boats here called the Maid of the Mist since 1846. The early models were wooden sidewheel steamboats. They’ve evolved into steel, 74-ton vessels powered by two powerful diesel engines.

    The larger three boats, which launch from the Canadian shore, hold nearly 600 passengers. Two smaller boats leave from the American side with room for about 300.

    The Maid of the Mist captains see their share of the darker side of the Falls, sometimes coming across the suicide victims who leap from above. Even before this season’s opening day, a body was discovered at the base.

    “That’s the earliest one yet,” Acker said.

    English recalled seeing the upended kayak of ill-fated stunter Jessie Sharp bob by. Sharp rode his kayak over the brink of the Falls in 1990 as friends videotaped him. The 28-year-old Tennessee man was so confident he’d survive he had dinner reservations for later in the day. His body was never recovered.

    Looking up at the brink from the Maid of the Mist, the danger seems obvious.

    “That’s the problem,” said English, who grew up near the Falls and got his first job on the tour boats at 16. “People who are going to do these things don’t take a look.”

    The Maid of the Mist has attracted its share of celebrity tourists over the years, including Marilyn Monroe when she was shooting “Niagara” in the 1950s. Princess Diana, Sylvester Stallone, Mother Theresa and Joan Rivers have also been on board.

    Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

    Man swept over falls

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    From The Review
    Saturday, May 14, 2005, page A3

    NIAGARA FALLS – Niagara Parks Police say a man was swept over the falls Wednesday afternoon. According to a press release, the man, who appeared to be between 30 and 40 years old, had been spotted in the fast-flowing waters of the upper Niagara River around 3:45 p.m. then was seen heading over the brink. Maid of the Mist boats were enlisted to search for the man at the foot of the falls. Police believe the man entered the water of his own accord. They are continuing to investigate.

    Complimentary Passes

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    Over the last couple of weeks we’ve received complimentary passes for the following attractions:

    We’ll post our thoughts on each as we go.

    Falls Avenue Developments

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    Both of these signs are currently on the side of the Hershey store as well as in the ground outside Planet Hollywood on Falls Avenue:

    Falls Avenue Developments

    The City of Niagara Falls
    Public Meeting
    Date – May 16, 2005, 7:00 PM
    Council Chambers, City Hall
    4310 Queen Street, Niagara Falls
    File – AM-03/2005
    City Council will consider an application to change the official plan and the zoning by-law for these lands, to permit
    A 229 metre (751 foot) tall hotel and observation tower on 5705 Falls Avenue with the parking in the balance of the adjacent lands owned by the applicant.
    Additional information and a copy of the written notice available by contacting the planning & development department
    City Hall, 8:30 – 4:30, Telephone 356-7521

    Falls Avenue Developments

    The City of Niagara Falls
    Public Meeting
    Date – May 16, 2005, 7:00 PM
    Council Chambers, City Hall
    4310 Queen Street, Niagara Falls
    File – AM-05/2005
    City Council will consider an application to change the zoning by-law for these lands, to permit
    An increase in building height from 15.8 M (52 ft) to 41.7 m (137 ft) for the garage behind the Skyline Brock Hotel, for a new waterpark. Also, an increase in building height from 10.7 m (35 ft) to 34 m (112 ft) for a series of enclosed pedestrian bridges
    Additional information and a copy of the written notice available by contacting the planning & development department
    City Hall, 8:30 – 4:30, Telephone 356-7521

    Blondin returns to Niagara

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    We have previously reported on the rebuilding of Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks on Victoria Avenue.

    For many years, one of the most recognizable city landmarks was the fiberglass figure of tight rope walker Blondin, who was the first funambulist to cross the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope. Blondin had been seen crossing Clifton Hill on his tightrope for more than 40 years when he was taken down when the original location for the Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks closed.
    The figure has now be re-erected across Victoria Avenue with a fresh coat of paint and a new cape.

    Read the write up from the Niagara Falls Review

    Blondin on tightrope over Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls

    Blondin has a new home perched high above Victoria Avenue, near Clifton Hill.
    Photo: Mike DiBattista, The Review

    Blondin returns to skyline
    Wax museum preparing

    By ALISON LANGLEY Review Staff Writer
    Local News – Thursday, May 12, 2005 @ 02:00

    NIAGARA FALLS — Blondin is back and he’s better than ever.

    After a four-year hiatus, the famed tightrope walker has returned to the heart of the tourist district, this time perched on his tightrope across Victoria Avenue in front of the new location of the Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

    Construction is still going on at the new museum. However, Blondin was put back in business Tuesday night.

    “This is the first time he has seen daylight,” Tim Parker, general manager of Ripley’s in Niagara Falls, said Wednesday morning.

    The fibreglass figure had been a familiar fixture on Clifton Hill for more than 40 years.

    The metre-and-a-half tall statue was taken down in the fall of 2000 after the museum closed its doors.

    With work on the new facility almost completed, Blondin was taken out of storage and given a complete makeover.

    “He looked a little old when we took him down. So, we rejuvenated him with a fresh coat of paint and a new cape,” Parker said.

    The large swashbuckling cavalier that welcomed visitors to the museum is also returning.

    The massive figure is scheduled to be installed at the new site tonight.

    The new Tussaud’s museum is set to open in June.

    The 125 wax figures, which had been stored at Ripley Entertainment head office in Florida, are back in town awaiting the completion of their new home.

    “We won’t be bringing them in until every last speck of drywall dust is gone,” Parker said.

    The original Tussaud’s opened on Clifton Hill in 1959.

    It was an instant success and was credited with launching a new era in the tourism industry as it spawned a number of themed museums and other family attractions in the area.

    Updated image gallery

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    I’ve added another 50+ pictures to the gallery and now have over 800 images. Here are a few highlights of what I’ve added today:

    Of course you can always see the whole gallery at http://www.accessniagara.com/gallery/ and be sure to vote for your favourite images!

    Niagara Falls in the Movies: Superman II

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    One of the most famous movies that features Niagara Falls is Superman II.

    Superman II cover

    Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to marry Lois, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.

    The movie stars Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, and Gene Hackman

    Here are some Niagara Falls specific scenes in the movie:

    0:33:10
    A shot of Table Rock is shown. The camera pans up the river and you see the Skylon Tower.
    You see Lois and Clark in a hotel room and Lois explains why they are in Niagara Falls:
    “[we’re] posing as newlyweds to expose a honeymoon racket in Niagara Falls.”
    0:36:39
    This scene ends.

    0:37:10
    Overhead shot of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. This is the scene where the boy falls in the water and Superman appears to save him.
    0:37:31
    Clark looks at the Falls and says, “Golly, isn’t it beautiful?”
    0:39:29
    The boy falls into the crevasse. You see him falling with a backdrop of the Falls. I guess for 1980 the effects weren’t bad, but today they looked pretty cheesy.
    0:39:51
    You see the Maid of the Mist IV and the people on the boat cheer Superman along.
    0:39:58
    Superman catches the boy before he hits the rocks below. Apparently it takes at least 29 seconds to fall the entire height of the Falls.
    0:40:30
    As Superman flies away, you see the Minolta Tower. Notice that there are no large hotels around it. Today there are large hotels surrounding it and the Minolta Tower actually looks small.
    0:41:41
    This scene ends.

    0:46:17
    This is the start of the scene where Lois tries to make Clark admit he’s Superman. They are at “Niagara’s Great Gorge Trip” and while they are talking you see several of the boats (Ray Weaver’s boat, Major L. Hill’s boat, William “Red” Hill, Sr.’s boat) that are now in the Daredevil Exhibit at the IMAX Theatre in Niagara Falls.
    0:47:31
    Lois jumps into the rapids
    0:47:42
    Superman runs down the walkway and walks past a couple and a child. This is Neil and Denise Burton (of Thorold, ON) and a kid who isn’t theirs. I know Neil and he tells a story that he was told not to turn around and look into the camera, but he did anyway since he thought it was more realistic (if someone bumped you as they ran by, wouldn’t you turn and look?). The director was upset that he turned around, but they didn’t want to reshoot it so they left it in.
    0:49:30
    Lois is ok, and Clark’s secret is still a secret.
    0:49:40
    This scene ends.

    0:51:38
    They are back in the hotel room.
    0:52:28
    Clark trips over a pink bear rug, and falls into the fire. He isn’t hurt so Lois confronts him.
    0:53:18
    Clark officially reveals himself to be Superman, right here in Niagara Falls!
    0:54:52
    The last of the Niagara Falls scenes ends.

    2:06:44
    During closing credits
    “The producers wish to thank:
    The Niagara Parks Commission

    You can purchase Superman II from Amazon.ca.

    Thanks go out to my sister Andrea who helped me record all these details.

    Another Development in the tourist core

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    I was having dinner at Kelsey’s on Clifton Hill last night when I saw the following public notice posted across the street between House of Frankenstein and Ripley’s Moving Theater. This is the first time I saw this posting, though the meeting is next week.

    We have been told this is a formality to allow them to erect the rides they had last year (a rock climbing wall and a slide) while providing future approval for 3 unstated mechanical rides.

    Publc Meeting Notice for Amusement Rides

    The City of Niagara Falls
    Public Meeting
    Date – May 16, 2005, 7:00 PM
    Council Chambers, City Hall
    4310 Queen Street, Niagara Falls
    File – AM-48/2004
    City Council will consider an applicaiton to change the zoning by-law for these lands, to permit
    3 amusement type rides
    Additional information and a copy of the written notice available by contacting the planning & development department
    City Hall, 8:30 – 4:30, Telephone 356-7521

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