From WIVB Channel 4 in Buffalo (includes video):
There’s new information about the death of Niagara Falls Daredevil Kirk Jones. A couple living in Niagara Falls may have witnessed his final moments.
Peggie and Ron Bastian were simply having coffee at home over looking the river, when they saw not one, but two men put an 8-foot inflatable ball into the rapids.
They say, the men and the ball disappeared out of view for just a few moments behind a tree. They then saw just the ball floating downstream. That’s when Peggie captured a picture of the ball and posted it on Facebook.
Speaking of daredevils and the risks they take…
From Niagara This Week:
A man who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls without protection in 2003 has died after he went over again, this time inside an inflatable ball.
Police tell the Syracuse Post-Standard the body of 53-year-old Kirk R. Jones was found in the Niagara River by the U.S. Coast Guard on June 2.
Detective Sgt. Brian Nisbet of the New York State Park Police says it’s the same man who became the first person to survive an unprotected plunge over the falls in October 2003.
Nisbet says investigators believe Jones attempted to go over the falls inside a three-meter ball on April 19.
From Canada.com (including video):
A trapeze artist from a renowned family of daredevils hung by her teeth from a helicopter over Niagara Falls today.
The stunt by aerialist Erendira Vasquez Wallenda comes on the fifth anniversary of her husband’s tight-rope walk over the falls.
According to organizers, the chopper hovered about 100 metres above the Horseshoe Falls. Wallenda dangled by her teeth for over 20 seconds, breaking her own husband’s world record.
“It felt amazing. It was a little more windy than I expected it to be, but I just had to put myself back to my backyard and my training,” she said.
When asked what she had to say to young women and girls, her message was one of persistence.
“Never give up on your dreams,” said the mother of three, who noted that she had to put her career as an aerialist on hold to raise her kids. “If a guy can do it, a girl can do it too. We just do it with a little more grace.”
From the Niagara Falls Review:
One of the last men to go over the falls in a barrel wants to see a proper memorial for one of Niagara Falls’ most legendary figures.
Peter DeBernardi, who survived a 1989 trip over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel he shared with Jeffrey Petkovich, is trying to raise awareness for a possible statue of famed river man Red Hill Sr. somewhere along the Niagara Parkway. Read More…
WBFO, the NPR affiliate in Buffalo, had a short segment recently about Niagara Falls and the heroics of Red Hill Sr.:
Michael Clarkson grew up along the banks of the Niagara River. As a young reporter, he collected stories of people who challenged the river’s dangerous 165-foot Falls, including the first three to do so…
Clarkson also heard of a heroic river man and his family, whose tales are interwoven with the history of daredevilry and rescue at the Falls. Here’s their story.
William “Red” Hill Sr. was born on Oct. 27, 1887 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. His career saving lives began when he carried his 4-year-old sister, Cora, out of their family’s burning home…
From the Niagara Falls Review:
James Hardy has a special place in the history of Niagara Falls.
He was the final official participant in a 19th century phenomenon often referred to as the great age of Niagara tightrope artists — something that captured much of the world’s attention.
That “age” began in 1859 when the innovative showman Jean Francois Gravelet, who used the stage name Blondin, demonstrated unbelievable skill and daring on a rope during a series of performances high over the Niagara River Gorge.
Widely acclaimed, he set a precedent. Consequently, during the years following Blondin a number of other high-wire artists came here to present similar shows.
Thirty-seven years after Blondin, it was Hardy’s turn.
Last week I received this email newsletter from Niagara Falls Tourism:
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Nik Wallenda knows death haunts every step he takes on the high wire. As the great grandson of Karl Wallenda — the German emigre and patriarch of the Flying Wallendas who perished in 1978 on a wire badly strung between two towers of the Condado Plaza hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico — he also knows that some of the millions of viewers who have tuned in to his treacherous traverses of Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon are waiting for a snuff film. “I’m sure there’s a percentage saying, ‘I hope he falls,’ ” says Wallenda.